Area evacuated after bomb and gun found during police search

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A bomb and a gun have been found during police searches in Co Armagh.

The firearm and viable explosive device were recovered from the Tarry Drive area of Lurgan on Tuesday.

PSNI superintendent David Moore said the device was capable of “substantial harm” and was intended to target fellow police officers.

A number of people were evacuated from the area during the security alert, including children at a nearby playgroup.

Mr Moore said: “We are hugely grateful for the patience, understanding and support shown to us by the local community, with whom we are proud to work in rooting out the scourge of terrorism.

“The device was examined by ATO (Ammunition Technical Officers) and found to be viable and capable of substantial harm. The device was made safe before being removed for forensic examination along with the firearm.

“There is no doubt that this device was intended to harm police officers, however its placement and the manner in which it was left undoubtedly mean that had it detonated, it would almost certainly have caused death or serious injury.

“Working together with the local community, this particular act of potentially lethal recklessness has been brought to an end.”

“Had this device not been found when it had, there is no telling what we may have been dealing with.

“Young children would have been walking right past this location and people residing peacefully in this area were put in danger.

“The misguided individuals behind this device are seriously out of step with this community and clearly don’t care about the lives of those living in the area and the disruption they have brought to their doorsteps.

“Placing this device where they did says much about the contempt and disregard in which they hold this community.

“As a police service we will not be deterred by such acts nor by the small number of individuals behind them.”

Appealing for witnesses or anyone with information to come forward, Mr Moore praised members of the local community for their response during the alert.

“We would like to thank the community and its real leadership for their patience and their response in helping to care for the most vulnerable during this incident – and they are owed more than an apology and explanation by those who recklessly left this device in the heart of this community,” he added.

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