‘Police murder plot’ foiled after mortar bomb launching tube found
The discovery prompted a major security operation in Castlewellan in Co Down.
A suspected dissident republican murder bid against police has been foiled after a mortar-launching tube was found in Co Down.
The horizontal tube attached to a frame and command wire were left beside a derelict farm building outside the town of Castlewellan on Monday.
A member of the public discovered the items, which were not concealed, behind a wall outside the property.
Police believe the weapon, which did not contain a live mortar round, belonged to dissident republicans opposed to the peace process.
Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Detective Superintendent John McVea said it was likely the mortar tube was left by one dissident extremist for collection by another, with the find disrupting the transfer.
Mr McVea said it was not left in a position that suggested it was about to be used to launch a mortar at a passing car on the road.
“We are very pleased to have this item recovered – undoubtedly it was in the future intended to be used in an attack against the security forces,” he said.
— Police Service NI (@PoliceServiceNI) April 9, 2019
A mortar tube and command wire have been recovered during security operation in Castlewellan https://t.co/xOM0uP8TWK
Police believe the weapon may have been left at the building on the rural Drumnaquoile Road as recently as Sunday.
The discovery prompted a major security operation in the area.
“There is a derelict farm building in the immediate vicinity. The device, the mortar tube, was left just by the wall,” said Mr McVea.
“It was not covered in any way.
“It was in very good condition and there were no signs it had been left to the elements for any length of time and certainly we are working on the theory that it was left there in very recent times.”
Police have appealed to anyone with information about the find to come forward.