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Former prisoner finds listening device in ceiling

North Belfast republican Terry McCafferty with the bugging equipment he discovered attached to wooden joists in his ceiling. Picture by Mal McCann
North Belfast republican Terry McCafferty with the bugging equipment he discovered attached to wooden joists in his ceiling. Picture by Mal McCann North Belfast republican Terry McCafferty with the bugging equipment he discovered attached to wooden joists in his ceiling. Picture by Mal McCann

A former republican prisoner has discovered a sophisticated listening device embedded in the ceiling of his north Belfast home.

Terry McCafferty (47) said he made the discovery while changing bulbs in spotlights in the living room of his house in the New Lodge area.

The device was built into a joist in a space been the ceiling and a bedroom floor.

Operated by wi-fi, with a battery back-up power supply, he said it had been carefully concealed and contained several small listening devices that were attached to spotlights.

A former member of the Real IRA, the grandfather was jailed for 12 years in 2005 after being convicted of leaving a bomb outside a vehicle licensing office in central Belfast three years earlier.

After his release from prison he became the subject of a high-profile campaign when the secretary of state revoked his licence as he returned from honeymoon.

He was released by sentence review commissioners in 2010 after serving an additional 15 months behind bars.

Mr McCafferty blamed MI5 for planting the device.

"To hide it in where it was would have taken a while - it could only have been done when we weren't at home," he said.

"It was very well hidden and I think may have been there for around two years.

"I've reported it to my solicitor - this isn't the first time my family have been targeted by MI5."

In 2011 Mr McCafferty's wife Martine claimed she was approached by MI5 who tried to recruit her to inform against her husband by sending her an envelope stuffed with cash.

She said she received £500 in Northern Bank notes, posted from Belfast along with a hand-written message that contained a mobile phone number.

When she rang the number a man with an English accent answered and said he worked for MI5 and would be back in touch at a later date.