PSNI finds suspected getaway car

 

A suspected dissident republican getaway car that disappeared after police officers in Northern Ireland left it for two days without examination has now been recovered.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland was criticised after it emerged that the burned out vehicle, abandoned in south Armagh minutes after a car bomb attack on nearby Newry courthouse last month, had been removed.

The police received reports of the burning car at Drumintee 20 minutes after the blast in Newry, but 48 hours later it was taken from the site by unknown persons.

Officers conceded they were “unable to respond as fully or as quickly” as they would have wished in regard to the reports but explained that they had not initially approached the car in case it was a booby trap.

Tonight, a PSNI spokesman said the vehicle, which could hold vital forensic clues as to the car bombers’ identity, had now been located again.

“A vehicle which police, at this stage, believe was the car set on fire in the area of Drumintee just before 11pm on Monday 22 February, was subsequently recovered for further investigation,” he said.

The police would give no further details where the car was found, but it is understood it was recovered days after it went missing.

No-one was injured in the 250lb Newry bomb, but the court building was badly damaged.

The initial revelation that the vehicle had been removed prompted an angry response from the leader of the Traditional Unionist Voice party, Jim Allister.

Mr Allister asked why the car was not kept under observation even if officers were not able to approach it.

“The fact that it could be removed is not just embarrassing but a telling indication of who really controls South Armagh, evidently, not the PSNI,” he said.

PA