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Vehicle checkpoints back in Belfast

Marie Louise McConville m.mcconville@irishnews.com

POLICE vehicle checkpoints are up and running in central Belfast, days after the PSNI revealed it would step up its presence amid concerns that dissident republicans may again target the area in the run-up to Christmas.

Officers have been seen checking vehicles on Donegall Street and around Millfield in recent days, as thousands of festive shoppers and revellers are descending on the city. About 1,000 vehicles have already been stopped.

Chief Superintendent Nigel Grimshaw said the operation was "to provide reassurance in the first instance and prevent and deter people who might want to bring something into the city centre from a more sinister point of view".

The operation comes almost a year after dissident attacks caused significant disruption in the city centre.

A small bomb exploded in the busy Cathedral Quarter in December.

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