Four cars sought after bomb find

Police and ATO carry out an operation in the Lagmore area of West Belfast after they tracked down a car in which they believe a viable device fell from in Lisburn City Centre earlier that day. Police and ATO carried out searches of the area and car before clearing the scene on July 31 2016 ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
Police and ATO carry out an operation in the Lagmore area of West Belfast after they tracked down a car in which they believe a viable device fell from in Lisburn City Centre earlier that day. Police and ATO carried out searches of the area and car before clearing the scene on July 31 2016 ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )

Detectives investigating the explosive device found in Lisburn on Saturday (July 30) are renewing their appeal for information.

And they are particularly keen to speak to the drivers of four specific vehicles, a grey coloured BMW X3 or X5, blue coloured Ford Focus, grey coloured Vauxhall Astra, and silver coloured Suzuki jeep.

The device was discovered in Market Place just before 2pm and the clearance operation to make it safe caused considerable disruption.

The road was closed between Smithfield Street and Chapel Hill as Army Technical Officers carried out a controlled explosion on the suspicious object, which was later confirmed to be a viable device. It is believed the device may have fallen from a vehicle.

Detective Chief Inspector Alison Rowland, from Serious Crime Branch, said: “Extensive enquiries are ongoing and as yet we have been unable to identify how this device was in Market Place but we believe the target was an individual rather than a location.

“I am appealing for information from people who were in the Market Place area on Saturday July 30 around 2pm to contact us. We are particularly interested in speaking with the drivers of the following vehicles who we know were in that area on Saturday a Grey coloured BMW X3 or X5, Blue coloured Ford Focus, Grey coloured Vauxhall Astra, and Silver coloured Suzuki jeep.

“Police will continue to proactively police Lisburn to prevent such attacks and would encourage public support to help us keep our community safe.”

Superintendent Brian Kee added: “As part of a follow up operation in the Lagmore area of Belfast, a vehicle was seized for examination.

“We are keen to hear from witnesses or anyone who was in the Market Place area of Lisburn yesterday and who may have information that could assist the investigation. Detectives can be reached by calling 101 quoting reference 686 30/07/16.”

Lagan Valley MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has condemned those behind a bomb incident in Lisburn city centre on Saturday afternoon.

Mr Donaldson said: “I condemn those responsible for this bomb incident on a busy Saturday afternoon in a packed city centre. This caused major disruption and inconvenience for shoppers and local businesses alike.

“It is not clear who or what was the target but the people who did this have no support in our local community. I commend the PSNI and the ATO for their action in safeguarding the public from harm.”

Mr Robbie Butler MLA and Mrs Jenny Palmer MLA, the Lagan Valley Ulster Unionist Party Assembly members, have called on constituents “to rally behind the security forces and give whatever information they can to the police so that people responsible for the recent Lisburn bomb will be brought for the courts”.

In a joint statement, Assembly members Butler and Palmer were speaking as they condemned “the disgraceful attack on Lisburn after the bomb was found in Market Place, causing several hours of disruption to the community”.

The two UUP MLAs added: “If anyone has any information, please call the PSNI immediately. We totally condemn this attack whomever this device was aimed at. This was an attack on the entire community.

“The individuals responsible for this despicable attack must be caught by the police and brought before the courts so that they can face the full weight of the law.

“The security forces and emergency services must be highly praised for their prompt response, thereby guaranteeing that no one was injured.

“We would also ask the community to be extra vigilant given the considerable speculation that the intended target of the bomb may well have been a member of the Prison Service, and that the bomb could have fallen off a vehicle belonging to a member of the Prison Service.”

The Mayor of Lisburn, Councillor Brian Bloomfield has echoed the calls for witnesses or anyone with information to come forward. “I strongly condemn the needless action of those who brought a viable explosive device into the heart of the City of Lisburn,” he said.

“This is simply a reckless and cowardly act on the community. Those responsible for such crimes are despicable and have nothing positive to offer our society.

“I would like to commend the quick actions of the members of public who were extremely observant and prevented what could have been a very sad and tragic situation.

“I also commend the effort of the security forces, who through swift action, dealt with the distressing situation, ensuring the area was made safe.

“I urge all witnesses or anyone who was in the Market Place area of Lisburn on Saturday 30th July and who may have information that could assist the investigation, to call 101 and quote reference 686 30/07/16.”

Cllr. Uel Mackin, Chairman of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council’s Development Committee, added: “Those responsible for leaving a viable explosive device in Lisburn City Centre on Saturday are to be utterly condemned. I would like to thank the Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team for securing this device and preventing any injuries.

“People involved in this kind of activity have nothing to offer society other than annoyance and causing unnecessary disruption. They probably feel their action is justified in advancing their narrow self-seeking objective and in a time of peace, which is welcomed by most of us, this is not the case. This bomb incident achieved nothing other than cause disruption and inconvenience to shoppers and local businesses on a busy Saturday afternoon.

“Like the Mayor I would encourage anyone who saw anything suspicious at any time on Saturday to get in touch with the PSNI.”

Detectives can be reached by calling 101 and asking for the Lisburn bomb enquiry team or, if people would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.