Larne arms dump discovery raises questions, says MLA Roy Beggs

The barrel containing weapons was recovered from a purpose-built terrorist hide in woodland at Capanagh Forest near Larne
The barrel containing weapons was recovered from a purpose-built terrorist hide in woodland at Capanagh Forest near Larne

The discovery of two terrorist arms dumps near Larne raises the question of how many more could be out there, an East Antrim MLA has said.

Ulster Unionist Roy Beggs was commenting after the PSNI uncovered “one of the most significant seizures of munitions” in recent years in Northern Ireland at the weekend,

On Saturday, two members of the public discovered suspicious objects at Capanagh Forest, leading police to locate three purpose-built barrel hides buried in the ground.

The haul they contained included: an explosively formed projectile (EFP); two claymore anti-personnel mines; several pipe bombs; quantities of explosives and ammunition; command wire and component parts to construct a substantial number of explosive devices.

Two months ago, police were alerted to the presence of barrels buried at Carnfunnock Country Park and recovered what they described as “a significant amount of bomb making components including partially constructed devices and a small quantity of explosives”.

Mr Beggs said he is to meet with the PSNI district commander of the area regarding the suspected dissident republican munitions.

“Capanagh Forest is a much more remote location than Carnfunnock Country Park, but they are both equally unlikely locations for a dissident republican arms cache. It just goes to show that these terrorists, while small in number, are out there and still active,” he said.

“We are grateful that these weapons are now decommissioned and out of harm’s way. It does, however, raise a series of questions: if there are arms dumps in forests near Larne, where else? How much terrorist equipment is still out there primed and ready for use?”