Bank raid inquiry searches resume

A business belonging to the family was also searched

Police investigating the £26.5m Northern Bank robbery have resumed a search operation in County Tyrone.

Two homes and a scrapyard were searched in the operation, which began on Wednesday near Beragh.

Sinn Fein MLA Barry McElduff said the searches centred on two homes. The West Tyrone assembly member said both familes were "shocked and upset".

The IRA denies responsibility for last December's bank raid in Belfast, and Sinn Fein says they believe the denial.


The houses belong to brothers Liam and Michael Donnelly.

A business belonging to the family was also searched.

Michael Donnelly's son Damien told the Daily Ireland newspaper he was bewildered by the searches.

"I'm very angry that we have been targeted," he said.

An area of land was dug up and police used radar equipment

"To relate my business to the bank robbery is utterly wrong. The PSNI appears to have a number of teams designated for specific searches, but there were no arrests. There wasn't even any talks of arrests.

"They have damaged my character and my family's character in every way and the whole thing is just total nonsense."

Sinn Fein accused the police of timing the searches to coincide with the International Monitoring Commission's report on the robbery to be published on Thursday.

Mr McElduff said a large number of police vehicles were involved in the operation.

"They have been searching for, according to this warrant that I have in my possession, vehicles associated with the Northern Bank robbery and notes stolen from the bank on 20 December 2004," he said.

An area of land was dug up, and police used radar equipment to assist their search on Wednesday.

Police divers were also brought in to search a duck pond.

A water main was damaged during the searches, police confirmed.

Sinn Fein said the families involved had told them they had nothing to hide.

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