Belfast Telegraph

West Belfast target in bank heist probe
More premises are searched

By Jonathan McCambridge
30 December 2004

Police have carried out further searches in west Belfast as they hunt for the gang which stole £22m from the Northern Bank.

It is understood that officers searched commercial premises in the Blackstaff industrial area off the Springfield Road yesterday.

This is the latest in a series of police searches in north and west Belfast following the largest cash bank robbery in history.

Witnesses said a number of police Land Rovers were involved in the searches.

A police spokeswoman confirmed that searches had been carried out.

She said: "Police, as part of the ongoing investigation into the Northern Bank robbery, carried out a search of commercial premises in west Belfast.

"Nothing relating to the robbery was recovered during the search.

"Police will continue to pursue every possible line of inquiry as part of their investigation."

Police are hunting the gang which stole millions from the vaults of the Northern Bank cash centre in Donegall Square West on December 20 as the families of the two bank officials were held hostage.

The bank officials are Kevin McMullan from Downpatrick and Chris Ward from Colinmill in Poleglass.

On Monday, detectives carried out a fresh search of the Ward family home in the Poleglass area of Belfast.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland has said the possible involvement of paramilitaries is a "key line of inquiry".

But the IRA has denied involvement in the robbery.

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