Northern Ireland news

Probe into Loughinisland film documents has cost PSNI £247,000

The cost of a police probe linked to documents used in the film No Stone Unturned has topped £247,000
Connla Young

ALMOST £250,000 has been spent investigating claims that Police Ombudsman documents used in the film No Stone Unturned were stolen.

Officially known as Operation Yurta, the investigation has been carried out by officers from Durham Constabulary after a referral from the PSNI.

Two journalists involved in the making of the award-winning documentary about the Loughinisland massacre, Barry McCaffrey and Trevor Birney, were arrested in August last year and their homes raided.

An office used by Mr Birney was also searched.

In a report presented to the Policing Board last month, the PSNI revealed that more than £247,000 had been spent on the investigation up to June.

The figure includes bills from Durham Constabulary and the cost of PSNI personnel involved in assisting the investigation.

Police warned that the figure is expected to rise when the PSNI received “further billing” from Durham last month.

It has now emerged that three members of Durham Constabulary staff worked three days a week on the operation while two officers from the PSNIs Crime Operations Department provided assistance one day per week.

The report confirms that up to 50 officers, including some attached to the Tactical Support Group, were involved in the police raids on the homes of Mr McCaffrey and Mr Birney and his office.

SDLP Policing Board member Dolores Kelly last night said: "It really does require total scrutiny as to the cost of such decisions."

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