Belfast Telegraph

Bank robbery search finds nothing

By Jonathan McCambridge
11 February 2005

A major search operation in west Tyrone linked to the Northern Bank robbery has ended with nothing found, police today confirmed.

A business and two homes belonging to brothers Michael and Liam Donnelly from Beragh were searched by police for 36 hours.

Michael Donnelly's son Damien said the family had no idea why the police searched their property and could not believe the searches were taking place.

"It must have been false information they received - that's the only thing that I can see.

"The whole of the Donnelly family has absolutely nothing to do with terrorism or bank robberies - it's not in our nature.

"We are out for an honest day's work for an honest day's pay."

During the searches, an area of land was dug up and police used radar equipment as well as divers to search a pond.

Dozens of police vehicles were used in the operation which is the latest in a series of planned searches.

Ulster Unionist councillor and chairman of Omagh District Policing Partnership Allan Rainey said: "I know the family well. They are neighbours of mine and I want to uphold them."

Almost two months since the £26.5m Northern Bank robbery, police have still made no arrests.

Chief Constable Hugh Orde has blamed the IRA for the robbery, an assessment backed by the Independent Monitoring Commission this week. Sinn Fein has denied the IRA was involved.

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