Two arrests after substantial quantity of fertiliser recovered

The van intercepted on Fintona's Corbally Road.
The van intercepted on Fintona's Corbally Road.

A substantial quantity of fertiliser has been recovered from a van after a police operation in Co Tyrone yesterday.

Two men, aged 33 and 45, were arrested at the scene on Fintona’s Corbally Road shortly before 2am.

The Tattymoyle Road between Fintona and Tempo was also closed while Army bomb experts examined the van and its contents.

A number of houses had to be evacuated during the security operation.

All roads were reopened shortly after 4pm yesterday.

In a statement, a police spokeswoman said they apologised for the inconvenience.

“We understand the disruption these operations can cause to the community but emphasise that the operation was necessary to keep 
people safe.

“Police inquiries are continuing,” the PSNI spokeswoman added.

West Tyrone MLA Ross Hussey praised the work of the police in recovering the material.

“The vast majority of people in Northern Ireland long for the day when security alerts and bomb disposal teams are a thing of the past.

“It is time that any group or individual who still believes that violence – or the threat of violence – has a role to play, gets the message that their day has gone.

“The community must play its part and give the police every possible assistance in tracking down those who still seek to pursue violence and bringing them before the courts,” the Ulster Unionist Assemblyman said.

DUP MLA Thomas Buchanan said the local public were alarmed at the incident.

Also praising the work of the PSNI, Mr Buchanan said: “As a result of this police operation, the Army’s technical officers have had to be deployed.

“This would indicate some suspicion of explosives being involved, however this has still to be fully investigated.

“We must praise the police for their efforts to ensure that the work of those who would do evil is disrupted and brought to nought.

“It is reassuring that the PSNI is not relaxing its vigilance in this area.”

Mr Buchanan added: “I trust the community will work with the police to ensure that anyone trying to drag this community back through terrorism is removed from the streets.”

Joe Byrne of the SDLP condemned those responsible and said: “This incident has caused significant distress and disruption for local people who have had to be evacuated from their homes for their safety.

“I would appeal for anyone with any information to contact the PSNI.”