PSNI search six blocks in New Lodge, arrest man, seize ammunition

The PSNI carried out a major search operation in the New Lodge flats in north Belfast today.

Monday, 21st June 2021, 6:01 pm
Updated Monday, 21st June 2021, 6:08 pm

It is reported that searches took place in six blocks of flats with a large volume of police officers and PSNI Land Rovers in the area, as well as the police helicopter.

Police said a number of items, including a quantity of suspected ammunition seized during the operation, were removed for forensic examination.

A 55-year-old man was arrested and questioned on suspicion of possession of ammunition in suspicious circumstances. He was later released on police bail pending further enquiries.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Police searches at the Newlodge Flat in North Belfast on Monday, June 21, 2021. A major police operation is currently underway in north Belfast as part of an ongoing investigation into serious crime. It is understood six tower blocks in the New Lodge were searched for explosives. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

“Police would wish to take this opportunity to thank the local community for their patience and understanding during today’s protracted search operation,” a PSNI spokesman said.

Police said the searches were part of “an ongoing investigation into serious crime” but declined to give any further details.

A large mural at one of the flats stated: “Maghery republican POWs, unbowed, unbroken, 32 CSM [County Sovereignty Movement].

According to reports, there were some 30 PSNI units, ammunition technical officers (ATO), sniffer dogs and a police helicopter involved in the operation and six blocks of flats were searched.

One source said: “I saw at least three tower blocks being searched. The number of police Land Rovers would easily have been in double figures.”

Unusually officers - whether police or forensic officers - were wearing white jumpsuits but on this occasion with helmets, flak jackets, and sidearms.

Officers in regular uniforms and automatic rifles patrolled on the streets outside while the searches went on.

The search of each block took 20-30 minutes and seemed to focus only on the ground floor, with officers seen pushing up ceiling tiles inside the building as part of their investigation.

One police officer in ordinary uniform and without gloves, was seen leaving the flats with large blue bolt cutters.

Sinn Féin councillor JJ Magee said the community is safer following the discovery of ammunition after what he said was an extensive search.

“I welcome the fact that ammunition which was found following an extensive search in the New Lodge area has been removed from our streets,” he said.

“There can be no place in our society for anyone who would bring guns onto our streets.”

MORE NEWS:

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.

Subscribe to newsletter.co.uk and enjoy unlimited access to the best Northern Ireland and UK news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions now to sign up.

Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Alistair Bushe

Editor