DETECTIVES from the PSNI’s Terrorist Investigation Unit have described the weekend terrorist hide which was uncovered at Capanagh Forest outside Larne as one of the most significant seizures of munitions in recent years in Northern Ireland.
Two members of the public who were walking in the area on Saturday evening noticed suspicious objects and contacted police.
Over the weekend PSNI officers located three barrels hidden in purpose-built holes in the woods.
The following items were recovered from the barrels:
• An Explosively Formed Projectile (EFP)
• Two Claymore anti-personnel mines
• Several pipe bombs
• Quantities of explosives and ammunition
• Command wire
• Component parts to construct a substantial number of explosive devices
• Magazines and ammunition for an assault rifle.
Detective Superintendent Kevin Geddes, from the TIU, said: “This is one of the most significant seizures of explosives which police have made in recent years, both in terms of its size and its capability.
“A number of these devices were ready to be deployed.
“This seizure has undoubtedly saved lives.
“We are investigating a link to a previous find of munitions at Carnfunnock Country Park in the Larne area last March when bomb making components and explosives were uncovered.
“There are links in terms of the general location and the manner and method of storage and packaging of these munitions.
Explosively Formed Projectile
“The fact that an Explosively Formed Projectile was recovered which has an armour-piercing capability means that one of our main lines of enquiry will focus on dissident republican terrorists.
“All these components will now be subjected to rigorous forensic testing in an effort to provide additional lines of enquiry.
“We are indebted to the two members of the public who spotted suspicious objects on Saturday.
“Their vigilance prompted the recovery of this significant and substantial haul of munitions and has undoubtedly contributed to lives being saved.
“The threat level in Northern Ireland from dissident republican groups remains severe, which means an attack is highly likely.
“It is vital that people remain vigilant, wherever they are and whatever they are doing.
“We will continue to work to keep people safe and would ask anyone with information about suspicious activity or objects anywhere in Northern Ireland to contact police.
“Once again, this seizure has demonstrated that when people provide us with information, we will act on it to ensure everyone in our community is kept safe.”
Anyone with information can contact police on the non-emergency police number 101 or if someone does not wish to provide their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.