Northern Ireland news

Bomb parts found in ‘terrorist hide' in forest close to Larne

Police said two members of the public came across "suspicious objects" in Capanagh Forest in Co Antrim and reported it at around 7pm on Saturday. Picture by Cliff Donaldson 

BOMB parts have been found in a "terrorist hide" in a remote forest near Larne - just two months after a bomb-making equipment was found in another hide in the area.

Police said two members of the public came across "suspicious objects" in Capanagh Forest in Co Antrim and reported it at around 7pm on Saturday.

Officers went to the scene and removed the bomb parts for further forensic examination.

They left at around 5.30pm on Monday.

Detective Inspector Adrian Brown from the PSNI's Serious Crime Branch said police are investigating whether the find is linked to the discovery of bomb-making equipment hidden at Carnfunnock country park near Larne in March.

"I would ask the public to remain vigilant wherever they are and whatever they are doing," he said.

"If you see any suspicious activity, or have seen anything unusual in this area, please contact police so that we can act on the given information.

Sinn Féin MLA Oliver McMullan said police should make clear if the explosives were viable.

"I am glad to hear this stuff has been taken out of circulation," he said. "I would say that police need to make a fuller statement. We need to know if this stuff was viable and what age it was."

DUP MLA Gordon Lyons said the find had caused great concern.

"Any discovery of explosives and bomb making components is obviously a cause of concern but to follow on so soon after a similar discovery in Carnfunnock in March is extremely worrying," he said.

The find was welcomed by Alliance assembly member Stewart Dickson.

"Thanks go to the people who discovered this hide and the security forces for acting in such a quick manner, ensuring the safety of the public and potentially saving lives," he said.

Items including circuit boards, partially-constructed timer power units and explosives were found in plastic barrels buried in undergrowth at Carnfunnock in early March.

Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr later said police were investigating if dissident republicans had planted the bomb-making equipment at the park.

The latest find comes just days after MI5 said there is a "strong possibility" that dissident republicans will mount an attack on Britain.

In its latest security assessment, the threat to Britain from dissidents was increased from moderate to substantial - the third most serious category out of five.

In the north, the threat level remains at severe, meaning an attack is "highly likely".

Dissident republican groups including the group known as the 'IRA' have been behind several deadly attacks including the murder of prison officer Adrian Ismay in March.

Dissidents claim to have up to a tonne of "newly acquired" Semtex - odourless plastic explosives used widely by the Provisionals during the 1980s.

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