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Meath men get five years in prison for planting bomb at PSNI recruitment event

A sat-nav was able to link the men to the crime.

The improvised explosive.
The improvised explosive.
Image: PSNI

TWO MEN FROM the Republic of Ireland have been sentence for planting a bomb ahead of a PSNI Recruitment event at the Waterfoot Hotel in Derry in 2015.

Darren Poleon (43) and Brian Walsh (35), who are both from Meath, pleaded guilty earlier this year to possession of explosives with intent to endanger life or cause serious injury to property and possession of articles for use in terrorism.

Poleon and Walsh each received a sentence of five years in custody and five years on licence for possession of explosives and four years imprisonment for possession of articles for use in terrorism which will run concurrently.

Detective Chief Inspector Gillian Kearney, from PSNI’s Serious Crime Branch, said: “These two men planted a viable explosive device in the grounds of a hotel ahead of a PSNI recruitment event at the Waterfoot Hotel on 9 October. Their intention was undoubtedly to murder and seriously injure people as well as to deter people from pursuing a career in policing.

They had no regard for the safety of anyone staying in or visiting this popular hotel. I’m thankful we were able to thwart their efforts as I have no doubt that if the device had exploded people would have been killed or at the very least seriously injured.

The bomb was made from a fire extinguisher filled with 1.5kg of explosives, and was found along with a detonating system.

Poleon and Walsh were initially arrested by police in Omagh on 6 October 2015 after the Ford Focus car they were travelling in was seen being driven erratically.

When police searched the car they found a number of items including bolt cutters, walkie-talkies, a toy gun, balaclavas, gloves and two mobile phones. A sat-nav system was also recovered from the car for analysis.

The men were arrested at this time on suspicion of going equipped for burglary and possession of a firearm or imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and were later bailed to return to Omagh Police Station in December.

On 9 October 2015, police attended various security alerts which included the Waterfoot Hotel, the Millfield Campus of the Belfast Metropolitan College and the Strule Arts Centre in Omagh, which were all venues for police recruitment events and recovered the device at the Waterfoot Hotel – it was these locations which linked the men to the bomb.

Kearney explained: “During our enquiries we analysed the sat-nav system recovered from the car Poleon and Walsh had been travelling in. This provided a link between the car and the three recruitment venues. The car was found to have travelled from Co Meath to the Waterfoot Hotel on 6 October, when officers believe the device was left in the grounds of the hotel, before travelling onwards to the Strule Civic Centre in Omagh were they were arrested later that night.

Read: Bomb scare sparks evacuation at RTE building in Montrose >

Read: Man gets four and a half years in prison for sending extremist material on WhatsApp >

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