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Masked gunmen threaten workers at Carrickmore wind farm site

Workers were threatened by masked gunmen at a wind farm site outside Carrickmore, Co Tyrone
Brendan Hughes

WORKERS have withdrawn from a wind farm project in Co Tyrone after being threatened by masked gunmen.

Two men wielding firearms drove to the site outside Carrickmore on Thursday evening and threatened staff.

One of the gunmen, who was wearing a balaclava, reportedly ordered workers to leave the site within 24 hours and not return.

As the pair left they were also thought to have threatened a local man who owns the land where the wind farm is being constructed.

Police have launched an investigation into the incident, which happened at about 5pm off the Whitebridge Road at Gortfinbar.

Staff from Omagh-based firm Alexander Civil Engineering had been working at the wind farm site, located about three miles from Carrickmore.

Cranes were seen removing its machinery from the site on Friday, according to the Tyrone Herald.

The company yesterday refused to comment on the nature of the threat against its staff or whether it would be returning to the site.

Five wind turbines are planned for the site, according to an approved planning application.

Sinn Féin councillor Sean Donnelly, who owns farmland next to the site, condemned the threats from the gunmen.

"They said the construction company had 24 hours to leave the site but gave no reason. It was completely out of the blue," he said.

"They didn't say if they were from any paramilitary group, they didn't make any financial demands – they gave no reason for it."

Several wind farms have already been constructed near the Gortfinbar site including a nearby Crocknagarron site containing six turbines.

A PSNI spokesman said: "Detectives are investigating an incident at commercial premises on the Whitebridge Road, Carrickmore, on Thursday November 5.

"Two men, armed with firearms, were reported to have entered the premises at around 5pm and threatened members of staff. Nothing was taken during the incident and enquiries are ongoing at present."

Police appealed for anyone with information to contact detectives in Omagh on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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