Were you expecting the PISSNI to admit they fcuked up???

Police deny 'bank robbery botch'

The van, bottom left, is seen close to the bank

Police have denied they botched the operation over the robbery of £22m from a Belfast bank.

It has emerged police missed the robbers by a matter of minutes.

Officers went to the area after reports of suspicious activity near the Northern Bank's headquarters on the night of the raid.

Monday's raid is thought to have been one of the biggest UK cash robberies.

The IRA has denied involvement in the robbery, the BBC has learned. A senior republican dismissed "any suggestion or allegation that we were involved".

Police confirmed that a report of suspicious activity outside the bank was received on the night of the robbery.

It is understood a traffic warden called police to report two men acting suspiciously after a white van was spotted parked in a nearby side street.

A foot patrol had been sent to check out the reported suspicious activity and it would now appear those officers missed the gang by just a few minutes.

Detective Superintendent Andy Sproule said: "Police did receive a call from a traffic warden at 20.13 (GMT). Officers were here within five minutes, unfortunately the van appeared to have gone."

He added: When officers arrived here, there was no evidence of a crime. The gates were closed and it was some two hours later that a crime was reported to police - that wasn't the police's fault.

"It wasn't a botched police investigation and I want to nail that quite clearly at the start."

Police say they cannot yet confirm if the reported van was the one used in the raid.

Police put a similar van on display at the robbery scene

Detectives have released CCTV footage of the van.

Detectives said the possible involvement of paramilitaries was a "key line of inquiry".

They have identified two criminal gangs and three paramilitary factions that they believe are capable of carrying out the robbery.

They are comparing the previous activities and methods used by these groups and comparing that with what happened on Monday evening.

Female hostage

At least 10 men are now known to have been involved in the robbery. DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson said there was "considerable speculation that the IRA may have been involved".

"If the speculation emerges as the reality, it would deliver a lethal blow to Sinn Fein hopes of being accepted as suitable for government in Northern Ireland," he said.

Detectives said they soon expected to know the serial numbers of most of the stolen money.

Police said the robbery was carried out by professional criminals who had "clearly done their homework".

The two bank officials whose families were held hostage are being interviewed in depth by detectives who say the process could take several days.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?