Ardoyne Raid was ‘stunt’ says Copeland

An Ardoyne man whose house was raided by cops in connection with the massive Belfast heist at the Northern Bank says media groups were “tipped off” about what he labelled a “stunt” raid.
Eddie Copeland, his partner and his 20-month-old baby were woken by the PSNI on Christmas Eve morning in an apparent operation to investigate the recent £22 million robbery in Belfast city centre.
Shoes, his family’s mobile phones and a memory card for a digital camera were taken away by police.
But Eddie Copeland says though cops showed him the warrant detailing a “white transit van” as well.
And he said he found the world’s media had been “squared off” about the raid on a republican home. He said it was all a PSNI side-show.
“I couldn’t see anything on the warrant when they called about 9.25am on Christmas Eve,” he said, “apart from stuff about the robbery.
“We’d only been sleeping so late because my daughter had been unwell and it was the first night of a decent sleep we’d all got.”
Eddie Copeland, whose father Johnny was killed by the British army in 1971 survived a loyalist car bomb attack in 1996. He was also shot in the neck by a British soldier during the republican funeral of Thomas Begley.
He said: “The first thing your man [from the PSNI] says to me was ‘bet you thought days like these were over’.
“But they couldn’t have been serious about it all because they were very careful about the presents under the tree.
“They searched every present. They opened them very carefully and when they saw it was a tin of quality street they just closed up the wrapper. I could have had anything in that tin.
“They were there over two hours and I wasn’t arrested for anything. They [the PSNI] got everything lined up and went out in a neat semi circle into the street for the media.
“The press were all outside, but during it all one cop went out to brief the press. It was just a stunt.
“There was nothing there for them. There were about 16 pairs of shoes taken. I just want my shoes and other belongings back,” said Eddie Copeland.

Journalist:: Andrea McKernon

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