DETECTIVES from the PSNI’s Terrorism Investigation Unit have released new CCTV footage of the cars used by the terrorists involved in the attempted murder of a police officer in East Belfast on Saturday, June 1.
The plot to murder the senior police officer at Shandon Park Golf Club by planting a bomb under his Cherokee Jeep was foiled after a golfer spotted the device on the passenger side of the vehicle.
Two vehicles police believe were used in transporting the bomb to the officers home in the Newtownards Road area.
Detective Superintendent Sean Wright said: “Two weeks ago, terrorists were getting ready to carry out their plan to murder a police officer in East Belfast by planting a bomb under his car.
“Thankfully, their plan did not work, but by transporting and then placing a bomb under a vehicle in a built up area, these terrorists put the lives of the officer’s family, neighbours and members of the public at serious risk.
“I’ve previously appealed for information in relation to two vehicles which are important to my investigation.
“These are a green coloured Skoda Octavia, registration 01D 78089 and a silver coloured SAAB 95, registration NFZ 3216.
“I believe these vehicles were used to plant the bomb under the officer’s car and it’s really important that I trace their whereabouts on the night of Friday 31st May – the night before the bomb was discovered.
“We know that the Skoda travels on the M1 from Lurgan direction towards Belfast after 10 pm that Friday.
“Today I’ve released new CCTV showing the two cars coming into East Belfast at 12.08am.
“After this, the SAAB disappears for over an hour.
“The Skoda continues its journey along the Newtownards Road before disappearing around 12.18 am.
“I know that both cars travel along the Newtownards Road at the same time towards the officer’s house in East Belfast at 01.26 hrs – this is when I believe they planted the bomb.
“On the CCTV we can see the two cars travelling back along the Newtownards Road at 01.33 hrs.
“I believe that the terrorists had already planted the bomb by this time and were fleeing the scene.
“We have already established that shortly after this at 01.50 hrs, these two cars were reported having been set on fire on Etna Drive, North Belfast.
“However, there is over an hour – from around ten past midnight until twenty five past one – where these cars are unaccounted for and I want to know where they were.
“Our investigations indicate that the cars remained in East Belfast, in and around Lower Newtownards Road, Mersey Street, Sydenham, Short Strand, Albertsbridge Road and Beersbridge Road. Did you see them?
“This was a Friday night and East Belfast will have been busy.
“If you were out in the area I am asking you to check your photos, CCTV or dash cam and if you have any pictures that may be relevant please get in touch.
“Violent Dissident Republicans have already demonstrated that they do not care who they hurt or who they kill nor do they listen to the overwhelming wishes of our communities – they are simply anti-peace and anti-democracy.
“Their reckless violence cannot be allowed to continue and I ask for public support to help me identify the people involved so that we can stop them from harming our communities in the future.
“Finally, if you do not have information about this incident but you suspect that someone you know is a member of a dissident republican group, then contact detectives on 101 or let us know through the confidential Crimestoppers number on 0800 555 111.”