The haul of weapons seized by police

Eleven firearms discovered in Co Down have been described as a “significant” cache of weapons by police.

The weaponry included hand guns, machine guns, machine pistols and an assault rifle.

Officers made the discovery after a search operation in Jerrettspass.

The search was part of a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation into organised crime, supported by the PSNI.

The weapons were discovered in two waterproof holdall bags during the search, which started at about 4 pm on Thursday.

One bag contained three hand guns and four machine guns, while the other bag contained a rifle and three machine pistols.

The guns were found with magazines, and a supply of ammunition.

Officers continued to search into Thursday night, with assistance from PSNI specialists.

David Cunningham, NCA branch commander, said it was believed to be the most significant find of serviceable firearms and ammunition in the area in 10 years, with the weapons “in good condition and ready for use”.

He said the investigation would involve a detailed forensic examination to identify anyone who had handled them, and to determine previous use.

“These types of automatic weapons are used by serious organised criminals to kill and cause serious harm and we are convinced that this seizure will prevent future loss of life,” he added.

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