THE PSNI say police officers lives have been saved after a horizontal mortar tube and command wire have been recovered during a security operation.
The items were discovered on Drumnaquoile Road in Castlewellan by a member of the public before 3 pm on Monday, April 8.
Detective Inspector Orr of the PSNI’s Terrorism Investigation Unit said: “We implemented a full and extensive clearance operation in the area following the discovery yesterday afternoon.
“That operation concluded this afternoon and thankfully nothing further has been found.
“The mortar tube and command wire will now be subject to detailed forensic examination
“However, our initial assessment is the items, which are in a fairly good condition relative to other similar devices we have uncovered, had not been at that location for very long and may even have been there for as little as one day.
“I am appealing for local people to help us identify those responsible for leaving this device so close to a public road and to come forward with any information they may have.
“Whilst at this stage, it is too early to attribute ownership to any particular grouping, it is my belief that dissident republican terrorists are responsible and that this find has undoubtedly prevented an attack on local police.
“We know that the vast majority of people support our police officers and simply want to live in a peaceful society.
“We will continue to work with communities to disrupt the activities of the small group of people who are intent on using violence.
“If you know anything that could help us, please call 101, quoting reference 721 09/04/19.”