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Dublin: 7 °C Wednesday 13 November, 2019
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Weapons believed to belong to the New IRA explode in back garden boiler fire

“This is simply reckless and shows a total disregard for the safety of the local residents.”

Weapons on top of the boiler
Weapons on top of the boiler
Image: PSNI

THE PSNI IS appealing for information following the discovery of significant amounts of weapons and ammunition stored in a boiler house which went on fire earlier this week. 

Police and Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service attended the scene of the fire in a central heating boiler in the rear yard of a house in the Rodney Drive area of Belfast on Wednesday. 

A substantial amount of weapons and ammunition, including two AK 47 assault rifles, two sawn-off shotguns, a high-power rifle with a silencer, three pipe bombs and over 100 rounds of live ammunition were found in the boiler house. 

The PSNI believe the weapons belong to the New IRA. 

As the fire developed, some of the rounds exploded, causing significant danger to local residents and the fire service who were trying to put out the fire. 

4 AK 47 assault rifles Source: PSNI

“The weapons, bombs and ammunition were stored on top of the hot boiler and it beggars belief that anyone would store items and volatile as bombs and bullets in a hot environment,” PSNI detective superintendent John McVea said. 

This is simply reckless and shows a total disregard for the safety of the local residents. 

“Anyone with an ounce of sense would know that live ammunition and pipe bombs mixed with heat is a recipe for carnage,” he said. 

New IRA

As noted above, the PSNI believe the weapons belong to the New IRA.

One of the lines of enquiry into the incident is that these AK 47 firearms were used in attempts to murder police officers om Rosnareen in November 2015 and on the Crumlin Road in January 2017, according to McVea.

The PSNI Terrorism Investigation Unit is currently investigating the circumstances surrounding how these weapons were stored in the boiler house. 

5 Ammunition found at the scene Source: PSNI

“I believe they were moved there on Monday evening sometime after 9.30pm,” McVea said.

He is appealing to anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious in the rear alleyway behind Rodney Drive around that time. 

“It is clear that whoever placed these weapons in this boiler house was incredibly reckless,” he said.

What is more concerning is that they actually didn’t care at all that they were putting the lives of this entire family neighbourhood at significant risk of death or injury.

1 Built up entry at back of house Source: PSNI

 Anyone who heard or saw anyone acting suspiciously in the laneway at the back of Rodney Drive is being asked to contact police on 101 or UK Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. 

A 35-year-old man who was arrested under the Terrorism Act on Wednesday has been released unconditionally.

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