Northern Ireland news

'Lost' gun found by PSNI

Police search the site near Moy where a gun was found on Easter Monday. Picture by Hugh Russell.
Connla Young

A major police operation was launched in Co Armagh after it was confirmed that a gun and ammunition 'lost' in a police station for four days have now been found.

Earlier this week the PSNI claimed it had no record of a weapon and ammunition find on Easter Monday.

The gun, believed to be a .38 revolver along with 200 rounds of ammunition, was found by workmen at a house near Moy last Monday and later handed over to police in Armagh.

A member of the public who contacted police to inform them of the find was told to take the weapon to a police station.

It is understood the gun was then handed to a security guard at the station before being passed to other officers.

Although police initially said there was no record of the weapon it is believed it was eventually located in the station's armoury on Wednesday.

Earlier this week Aontú councillor Denise Mullen voiced concern that police had not sealed off the find site and the weapon has been handled by several people.

Aontú councillor Denise Mullen. Picture by Hugh Russell.

The location of the find is around one mile from where Ms Mullen's father, SDLP activist Denis Mullen, was shot dead by members of the Glenanne Gang in September 1975.

The notorious gang, which included members of the RUC, UDR and UVF, was also responsible for other murders in the area.

The revolver was discovered in a bag hidden between a sheet of asbestos and the tin roof of a building, which was being demolished.

It is also believed that the ammunition recovered was of a mixed variety.

A major security operation swung into place at the property where the gun was found on Wednesday evening.

Police remained at the scene on the main Armagh to Moy road yesterday while dog teams and officers dressed in white boiler suits also combed the area.

It is understood nothing further was found during the search.

Asked about the claims that a gun had been found a PSNI spokeswoman initially said it had “no record/report that matches this description”.

However, spokeswoman for the PSNI last night confirmed it received a report of the find on Monday, April 5.

"Following an enquiry, preliminary checks by police did not locate the initial report however further checks revealed that the items passed to police were treated as ‘surrendered’ rather than a potential crime linked firearm," she said

"The circumstances relating to this and any further action required are currently being considered and police will fully cooperate with the Police Ombudsman’s Office in relation to the matter."

The spokeswoman added that the gun and ammunition will now be forensically tested.

Ms Mullen last night said: "It took the PSNI fours days to admit, after denying, that it had found the gun and ammunition.

"It is almost two weeks before they started to carry out any work on the site where the gun was found and the gun was handled by multiple people.

"How can the PSNI take two weeks to do anything when there should be a paper trail?

"How many other times have weapons been handed in and the same thing has happened?"

In 2016 the PSNI said it had “no knowledge” of a similar find by workmen at a property in the Tamnamore area of Co Tyrone.

However, the force later admitted that a gun and ammunition had been discovered.

In 2018 police said ballistics tests had been carried out on the weapon and “it is not being linked to any known incident or crime at this time”.

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