Belfast Telegraph

Fire bomb blitz putting lives at risk, says PSNI
Retailers told to keep checking premises after latest incident

By Jonathan McCambridge, Crime Correspondent
31 December 2004

Police today warned that someone could be killed if a spate of fire bomb attacks on shops across Northern Ireland continues.

Retailers and shoppers have been issued with a New Year warning after the latest potentially lethal device was found in Co Down.

The package was discovered in the Menary's store in the Marcus Street area of Newry yesterday afternoon.

The shop was evacuated and the area cordoned off.

Army bomb experts who defused the device said it was crude but could have exploded.

Dissident republicans have been linked to fire bombings which destroyed several stores across the province.

Sixteen devices have now been discovered in Lisburn, Newry, Antrim, Londonderry, Newtownabbey and Ballymena.

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland said the coming week would be busy for shopkeepers because of the New Year sales.

He again urged business owners to check their premises for suspicious devices on a daily basis.

He said: "We are calling for everyone's co-operation to help defeat the individuals trying to inflict this on our community.

"It is not just buildings and property that feel the effect of these devices. The livelihoods of business owners and their staff are affected. The general public, as consumers, also feel the effects.

"Vigilance is the key. Look out for anything suspicious. If you see something that looks as if it is out of place, or even just raises concern, contact police."

He added: "An incendiary device has the potential to destroy property, and take human life. Its purpose is to cause widespread damage.

"Devices can be left in garments, soft furnishings, and upholstery, anywhere that can catch fire easily.

"I am also appealing to members of the public to help, if you are out shopping, and you see something that looks out of place, tell a member of staff who can call the police."

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