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Police put on show explosive device as four charged in dissident investigation

Police have charged four men arrested in Lurgan last week as part of an investigation into dissident republican terrorist activity in the area.

Following a large scale police operation Detectives from Crime Operations  recovered a fully prepared Explosively Formed Projectile (EFP) which was ready for deployment.

This potentially lethal device has been made safe. An EFP is an improvised explosive device designed to penetrate armour plating when fired at relatively close range from a makeshift launcher.

A 22-year-old man has been charged with the attempted murder of police officers and possession of explosives with intent to endanger life on August 31 in Lurgan.

Three men, aged 22, 24 and 46, have been charged with preparation of terrorist acts, namely the targeting of a former member of the security forces in the Craigavon area.

All four will appear at Craigavon Magistrates Court tomorrow morning.

Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr, head of Crime Operations Department, said: “We are relieved and delighted to have taken an extremely dangerous  explosive device out of circulation.

“Our experience of these devices in Northern Ireland has been that they have been used to try to kill police officers. Our action has probably saved lives and definitely made the community safer.

“We are issuing a photo of part of the device which had been deconstructed by police and shows the makeshift casing, a detonator, Semtex and copper piping.

“This investigation has been running for some time, led by detectives from Crime Operations who have worked closely with colleagues in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon District and received invaluable support from colleagues in Operational Support Department.

“The device was located in a derelict house in a residential area close to people’s homes. Those responsible have absolutely no regard for the local community, or indeed any community.

“I would ask all those with any influence in the community to use that influence to persuade people not to get involved in this type of activity. People who get involved, particularly young people, face the prospect of significant, possibly life changing, consequences.

“I would also like to thank the local community for their patience and understanding during the disruption of search activity in recent days. Our primary aim has been community safety. We are committed to doing this by working with the community and acting on information provided to us so that together we can keep people safe.”

A 22-year-old man arrested last Thursday as part of the same investigation was released unconditionally over the weekend.

Justice Minister Claire Sugden has commended the policing operation.

She said:  “I welcome another very successful policing operation.  They have once again removed significant and extremely dangerous terrorist weaponry from our streets –  lethal devices stored close to the homes of families and  designed to cause maximum injury and destruction within the community.

“I echo the PSNI’s thanks to those in the community for their patience during this operation and I thank them for their consistent efforts to keep our community safe.”

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