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Weapon parts seized in Lurgan during weekend of hijacks and rioting

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A car burns on the rail tracks at Antrim Road during disturbances in Lurgan on Sunday night

A car burns on the rail tracks at Antrim Road during disturbances in Lurgan on Sunday night

A car burns on the rail tracks at Antrim Road during disturbances in Lurgan on Sunday night

A partially constructed, improvised heavy duty weapon was found in Lurgan as part of the PSNI’s investigations into violent dissident republicanism.

The discovery was made in Lord Lurgan Park on Sunday by the PSNI’s Terrorism Investigation Unit.

The weapon was one of a number of items taken for forensic examination.

Police carried out the searches in the area after a suspicious device was discovered in Tarry Drive that morning. It was later declared an elaborate hoax.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Rowland said that using a public park to store such items was irresponsible and demonstrated a complete disregard for the community, including families and young children.

The discovery came amid a number of disturbances which took place in Lurgan over the weekend.

Four vehicles were hijacked, three of which were set on fire, in the Kilwilkie area on Sunday evening and in the early hours of Monday.

A Tesco delivery van was set on fire on the railway line at Lake Street late on Sunday night before a car was torched at a nearby roundabout.

A second car was also hijacked and set alight on the rail tracks on Antrim Road at around 1am on Monday.

This followed earlier security alerts in the same area on Sunday, including the hoax device.

Petrol bombs were thrown at PSNI officers during the subsequent searches in an area of wasteland along Victoria Street.

On Monday afternoon local residents went about their daily routines as the rail line reopened and parents picked their children up from a school close to where the violence occurred.

Meanwhile, the railway barriers at Bell’s Row level crossing on Antrim Road were closed for a period last night as work to repair damage was carried out by officials.

Upper Bann DUP MP Carla Lockhart said that the disturbances were not representative of Lurgan and expressed her concern over the young people involved in the violence.

“A lot of these young people weren’t even born during the Troubles but yet they’re being coerced to getting involved in criminality,” she added.

“We need to decommission that mindset and actually let young people see that they’re ruining their lives.”

SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly added that the local community was “angry and upset” following the disturbances.

“It’s inexplicable because the only damage that’s being done is to the local community and to people going about their daily lives,” she said.

“I would say to parents to be very careful that none of your children or our young people are getting caught up in this.

“People need to be wary of that because it does ruin future life chances.”

Sinn Fein MLA John O’Dowd said that those involved in the violence were void of “logic, support and strategic vision”.

“Those involved in orchestrating and participating in trouble in Lurgan over the course of the weekend have absolutely nothing to offer our community or society as a whole,” he said.

“Their actions only serve to hinder the quality of life of local residents and diminish our community’s image.”

Belfast Telegraph