Police have apologised after two Co Armagh homes were raided by mistake on Monday.
The PSNI has confirmed to Armagh I that officers “mistakenly entered two wrong addresses”.
It happened whilst police – as part of a wider investigation into recent ATM thefts – were conducting searches across the Newry and South Armagh areas.
Homes in Silverbridge and in Tassagh were entered on Monday, prompting an angry response.
Residents had demanded a full apology after homes were raided with warrants for completely different addresses.
Damage was also caused during the course of the operation.
Residents said the house in Silverbridge was targeted and ransacked by officers using a warrant for a property miles away.
Another home in Armaghbreague, Tassagh, was erroneously targeted in an operation described as shambolic by a Sinn Fein MLA.
Megan Fearon, speaking following the events of Monday morning, had demanded a full apology for homeowners and families whose homes were raided and accused police of “sheer incompetence”.
“Those responsible for these acts of gross incompetence must be held to account,” she said. “The Police Ombudsman has been contacted to investigate all cases involved.”
Ms Fearon added: “I am calling on the PSNI to apologise to families who had to suffer the trauma of these raids and who feel stigmatised by them.”
Armagh I contacted the PSNI for comment.
And this evening (Wednesday), the police confirmed mistakes had been made.
Detective Inspector Keith Gawley said: “We regret the mistakes made and have apologised to the householders. We have also advised our officers of the matter in order to prevent similar incidents occurring in the future.
“These searches were part of a wider operation carried out on Monday by Detectives from PSNI Organised Crime Unit investigating recent ATM thefts.
“It is very important that police are able to fight crime effectively and our aim is always to protect communities and make them safer.
“Thousands of searches are carried out every year within Northern Ireland which are vital in detecting crime and bringing people before the courts.
“Unfortunately, whilst it is not our intention, damage to property can occur as a result of searches.
“Where appropriate, compensation will be paid to the householder where damage is caused to their property.”
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