Letter bombs ‘addressed to Maghaberry prison’

Forensics and ATO at a security alert at  the Royal Mail centre in Lisburn.
Forensics and ATO at a security alert at the Royal Mail centre in Lisburn.

A second letter bomb has been discovered at a postal sorting office in Northern Ireland less than 24 hours after a similar device was found, police have said.

Stormont’s First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness condemned those who sent the explosive packets.

The second device was found at a depot in Lisburn a day after a bomb was discovered in an envelope in a sorting office in Londonderry.

It is understood both were addressed to Maghaberry high security prison in Co Antrim.

The finger of blame will again be directed at dissident republicans opposed to the peace process.

In a joint statement, Mr Robinson and Mr McGuinness said: “We utterly condemn the recent letter bombs discovered in postal sorting offices in Derry/Londonderry and Lisburn.

“The people behind these letter bombs are opposed to the democratic will of the people and want to drag us back to the past. They have no respect for the postal workers, the wider community or the future.”

The security alert at the Linenhall Street facility in Lisburn came after a letter bomb was made safe at the delivery depot in Great James Street, Derry.

The bomb found yesterday afternoon was in a white A4 envelope with the address written in grey using a stencil.

Last month a series of letter bombs sent to Army recruiting offices in England were blamed on dissidents.

In October last year dissidents also sent a series of letter bombs to high-profile political and security figures in Northern Ireland.

One of the devices was addressed to the seat of the power-sharing executive at Stormont Castle in Belfast, addressed to Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers.

Another bomb was delivered to the offices of the Public Prosecution Service in Derry while two explosive packages - one addressed to Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) chief constable Matt Baggott and the other to one of his senior commanders - were intercepted at Royal Mail offices in Belfast and Lisburn.

The spate of letter bombs has marked the re-emergence of a terror tactic that was used by paramilitaries during the Troubles.