Larne explosion 'linked to dissident republicans'

Scene of security alert A suspicious object was reported in Britannia Crescent at lunchtime

A 23-year-old man has been arrested in Larne in connection with dissident republican activity.

The arrest is linked to an ongoing security operation at Britannia Crescent in the town.

Army bomb experts were called to examine a suspicious object lying close to a row of houses at lunch-time on Thursday.

On Wednesday night, there was a small explosion outside a house nearby. A fence was damaged.

Police are examining the scene of the blast in Seacourt Road.

The PSNI say the explosion could be linked to dissident republican activity, though Sinn Fein believe it may have been due to a local dispute.

East Antrim Sinn Fein MLA Oliver McMullan, said he would be asking for an urgent meeting with local police commanders after police said the attack on Wednesday night could be linked to dissident republicans.

"The news in the local community is that this was not paramilitary-related but a local dispute," he said.

"I would question the PSNI - how they have come to the determination that it was dissident-led as this has the potential to raise tensions in the area."

East Antrim Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs said Seacourt was a mixed estate.

"It has been peaceful and settled for some time and this incident is an unwelcome throwback to the past," he said.

"It appears that a republican element who have been connected to suspect devices in other locations in the town in the recent past are continuing their campaign of disruption to the lives of the local community."

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