Machine guns and assault rifle recovered in Co Down haul

Officers seized the cache, described as ready to use, in the Jerrettspass area of Newry

The weapons were found in two waterproof holdalls buried in the ground. Photograph: NCA/PA Wire

The weapons were found in two waterproof holdalls buried in the ground. Photograph: NCA/PA Wire

 

A haul of 11 firearms including machine guns and an assault rifle have been recovered in Co Down.

The seizure came as part of a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation into organised crime.

Officers from the NCA and PSNI seized hand guns, machine guns, machine pistols and an assault rifle among the cache found in the Jerrettspass area of Newry.

They were described as being in good condition and ready to use.

The weapons were found in two waterproof holdalls buried in the ground.

They had magazines attached and a quantity of ammunition was recovered.

The search continued into Thursday night with the assistance of PSNI search specialists and equipment.

Some of the handguns that were found. Photograph: NCA/PA Wire
Some of the handguns that were found. Photograph: NCA/PA Wire

David Cunningham, NCA branch commander, hailed the operation as a “major success against those involved in serious and organised crime”.

“We believe that this is the most significant find of serviceable firearms and ammunition in the area in 10 years, they appear to be in good condition and ready for use,” he said.

“Our investigation continues, part of which will include a detailed forensic examination to identify those who have handled the weapons and to determine their previous use.

“These types of automatic weapons are used by serious organised criminals to kill and cause serious harm and we are convinced that this seizure will prevent future loss of life.

“Working with PSNI and other partners during this operation has been key to this success and we will continue to bring all of our shared expertise to bear in bringing those involved to justice.”– PA