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PSNI do u-turn on gun found near Glenanne Gang attack area

Relatives for Justice director Mark Thompson has questioned police over the gun find
Connla Young

THE PSNI has admitted that a gun was found in an area where attacks were carried out by the notorious Glenanne Gang - two weeks after saying they had no knowledge of it.

The handgun was discovered under floorboards during demolition work at a house in the Tamnamore area, near Dungannon in Co Tyrone, earlier this year.

When asked by the Irish News last month if there had been a find in the area, a spokesman for the PSNI said officers had "no knowledge of an arms find in Tamnamore area in June/July".

However, when asked again this week, the force did a u-turn and confirmed that a gun had been found on June 21.

They said it would now be "expedited for re-examination to establish if it can be linked to any historical incidents”.

The weapon, believed to be a revolver, was discovered within a few miles of several attacks by the Glenanne Gang, which included members of the UVF, UDR and RUC and was responsible for dozens of murders in the 1970s.

A car used in a sectarian murder of a Catholic man in 1974 is believed to have been burnt out close to where it was found.

It is understood the gun, three different types of ammunition and two manuals were found in a plastic bag. It is believed the handbooks related to a submachine gun and military warfare.

The owner of the house is understood to have had no knowledge of the gun, which was brought to Dungannon PSNI station.

Sources have claimed the area was not sealed off and no statements were taken from the man who found the gun or other witnesses.

Relatives for Justice director Mark Thompson, who earlier this week called on the PSNI to clarify its position, said he found its “initial claim to be beyond incredible”.

“Given the historical context of collusion in the area and the unwillingness of the PSNI to confirm the find merely adds to existing suspicion and mistrust of a cover up not least amongst families affected by collusion,” he said.

In a statement, Superintendent Mike Baird said confirmed that “a handgun was handed into police on 21st June 2016 along with some assorted ammunition located in the Tamnamore area”.

“It is my understanding that this weapon was discovered during building works and is in a very poor condition,” he said.

“The weapon will now be expedited for re-examination to establish if it can be linked to any historical incidents.”

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