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Police say children’s lives were put at risk by ‘viable device’ in Co Armagh

'Young children would have been walking right past this location '

Police have recovered a viable explosive device and a firearm following searches in the Tarry Drive area of Lurgan earlier today.

Superintendent David Moore said a number of areas had to be cordoned during these searches.

Local residents – including children attending a nearby playgroup – had to be evacuated.

Supt Moore has thanked the public and slammed those responsible for of a device capable of causing “substantial harm”.

He said: “We are hugely grateful for the patience, understanding and support shown to us by the local community, with whom we are proud to work in rooting out the scourge of terrorism.

“The device was examined by ATO and found to be viable and capable of substantial harm. The device was made safe before being removed for forensic examination along with the firearm.

“There is no doubt that this device was intended to harm police officers, however its placement and the manner in which it was left undoubtedly mean that had it detonated, it would almost certainly have caused death or serious injury.

“Working together with the local community, this particular act of potentially lethal recklessness has been brought to an end.

“The people living in this area were placed at great risk. Had this device not been found when it had, there is no telling what we may have been dealing with.

“Young children would have been walking right past this location and people residing peacefully in this area were put in danger.

“The misguided individuals behind this device are seriously out of step with this community and clearly don’t care about the lives of those living in the area and the disruption they have brought to their doorsteps. Placing this device where they did says much about the contempt and disregard in which they hold this community.

“As a police service we will not be deterred by such acts nor by the small number of individuals behind them. We will keep doing our job, keeping people safe and tackling the things people in Lurgan are demanding we tackle – burglary, anti social behaviour and drug dealing.

“An investigation, led by detectives from PSNI’s Serious Crime Branch is underway and I would ask anyone who may have information that could assist the police investigation, to please get in touch with us. Police can be contacted on 101, or if someone would prefer to give information without leaving their name they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

“We would like to thank the community and its real leadership for their patience and their response in helping to care for the most vulnerable during this incident – and they are owed more than an apology and explanation by those who recklessly left this device in the heart of this community.”

DUP MLA Carla Lockhart commended the PSNI’s response.

“The fact that a children’s playgroup had to be evacuated demonstrates the disregard those who prepared this device have for the lives of anyone in our community,” said Ms Lockhart.

“I would congratulate and commend the police for their continued efforts in keeping the community safe within Lurgan.

“Over recent weeks their policing operations have resulted in the arrests of those parading with their faces masked and the removal of weaponry designed to kill.

“I would appeal for anyone with information to assist the police in bringing to justice those responsible for putting lives in danger.

“Lurgan is a great place to live, work and do business and there is no room for this type of activity. People do not support it and want these people to face the full force of the law.”

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