Detectives from the PSNI’s Terrorism Investigation Unit are appealing for information following the discovery of a significant amount of weapons and ammunition in West Belfast earlier this week.
Detective Superintendent John McVea said: “On Wednesday 14th November, police and Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service attended the scene of a fire in a central heating boiler in the rear yard of a house in the Rodney Drive area of west Belfast.
“In that boiler house was a substantial amount of weapons and ammunition, including 2 AK 47 assault rifles, 2 sawn off shot guns, a high power rifle with silencer, 3 pipe bombs and over 100 rounds of live ammunition. As the fire developed, some of these rounds exploded causing significant danger to local residents and the Fire Service who were trying to put out the fire.
“The weapons, bombs and ammunition were stored on top of the hot boiler and it beggars belief that anyone would store items as volatile as bombs and bullets in a hot environment. This is simply reckless and shows a total disregard for the safety of the local residents.
“Anyone with an ounce of sense would know that live ammunition and pipe bombs mixed with heat is a recipe for carnage.
“We firmly believe these weapons belong to the New IRA. One of the lines of enquiry is that these AK 47 firearms were used in attempts to murder police officers in Rosnareen in November 2015 and on the Crumlin Road in January 2017. The Crumlin Road shooting in particular, also demonstrated recklessness and showed total disregard for members of the public as gunmen fired bullets into the filling station forecourt and shop, narrowly missing customers and passing motorists.
“We are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding how these weapons were stored in the boiler house. I believe they were moved there on Monday evening sometime after 9.30pm. I am keen to hear from anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious in the rear alleyway behind Rodney Drive around that time.
“It is clear that whoever placed these weapons in this boiler house was incredibly reckless. What is more concerning is that they actually didn’t care at all that they were putting the lives of this entire family neighbourhood at significant risk of death or injury.
“These people are beneath contempt and I am asking for the community to stand up against these parasites. They don’t have your best interests at heart, instead they want to control and exploit the decent people trying to live their lives and raise their children. They clearly don’t care if they harm you in their sinister activities. This is not want anyone wants for the future.
“Anyone who heard or saw anyone acting suspiciously in the laneway at the back of Rodney Drive should contact police on 101 or on Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”
A 35 year-old man who was arrested under the Terrorism Act on Wednesday, 14 November has been released unconditionally.
Pictured above: Weapons on top of the boiler
Pictured below: Weapons on top of the boiler, ammunition, AK 47 assault rifles, rifle magazines, sawn off shot guns and the built up entry at the back of the house.