Northern Ireland

Capanagh Forest arms dump: Items found 'could have made dozens of bombs'

A Claymore mine with shrapnel that was found in the forest Image copyright PSNI
Image caption Two Claymore mines, a sophisticated anti-personnel weapon, were among the arms found in Capanagh Forest

It has emerged that items found in a County Antrim arms dump could have been used to make dozens of bombs.

The "terrorist hide" at Capanagh Forest near Larne was uncovered by two members of the public on Saturday.

Some of the items found included an armour-piercing improvised rocket and two anti-personnel mines.

Police believe the weapons belonged to dissident republicans and could have been used to launch many attacks.

Officers were alarmed by the sheer quantity of the material.

They were also surprised to find the Claymore mines which are believed to be of military grade and not homemade.

This kind of weapon has not been found in Northern Ireland for many years.

Image copyright PSNI
Image caption Pipe bombs and parts for making explosive devices made up part of the haul

Last week, Home Secretary Theresa May said MI5 believed an attack on targets in Great Britain by dissident republicans had become "a strong possibility".

Det Supt Kevin Geddes said the threat level in Northern Ireland from dissident republican groups remains "severe" and an attack is "highly likely".

Image copyright PSNI
Image caption The weapons were found inside barrels which had been buried in the forest

Police officers found three barrels hidden in holes in the forest.

As well as rockets and mines, there were also several pipe bombs, assault rifle ammunition and parts to construct a "substantial number of explosive devices".

Det Supt Geddes said the seizure was significant "both in terms of its size and its capability".

In March, an arms find was made at Carnfunnock Country Park near Larne,.

"There are links in terms of the general location and the manner and method of storage and packaging of these munitions," Det Supt Geddes said.

Image copyright PSNI
Image caption Ammunition was among the items seized by police

He added that police are "indebted" to the two people who noticed the suspicious objects in Capanagh Forest.

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