News Letter

Five Men Arrested After Weapon Find

By Philip Bradfied
6th July 2004

Denim-clad policemen with minimachine guns arrested five men in Newry yesterday, stopping one of their cars off with an unmarked landrover.

Police confirmed that five people were arrested and a gun seized in the operation in Water Street, near Newry Cathedral, at around 10.30am.

Two cars were seized and the area was sealed off by forensic experts for much of the day in what sources believe could have been a sting operation against the Real IRA.

Police would not confirm or deny a terrorist connection, but it is understood that one of the men arrested comes from a prominent republican family with links to high-profile bombings at the height of the Troubles.

The incident is understood to have started when two of the five men went to drive out of the car park in a red Peugeot and were blocked by plain clothes police in an unmarked landrover.

At least 10 armed policemen - six uniformed and four plain clothes - sealed off the car park at the rear of Newry Cathedral.

Two of the five men arrested were detained in the car park for between one and two hours while police closely searched their car.

Spectators gathered and a Press camera was confiscated.

The arrested men were kept about 50 yards apart while the first car was examined.

After phone calls were made they were eventually dressed in white forensic suits and handcuffed before being removed.

Police ran checks on all vehicles in the car park and a blue Toyota was also seized and searched, with the area still sealed off into the afternoon.

A gun was seized and was to be examined by forensic experts.

UUP MLA for Newry and Armagh Danny Kennedy said he welcomed the police operation and would await further developments with interest.

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