NewsNorthern Ireland

Man charged over Semtex and guns find in Belfast

Police search a house after the Semtex find
Police search a house after the Semtex find

A 45-year-old man has been charged in connection with a major weapons haul in Northern Ireland.

Over half a kilogram of Semtex explosives, two handguns, more than 200 rounds of ammunition and two detonators were recovered when police raided a property in the Ballymurphy area of west Belfast on Friday.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said the search was part of an investigation into violent dissident republican activity.

The accused, who was arrested in Sunderland on Sunday, is charged with possession of explosives and a firearm in suspicious circumstances and possession of explosives and a firearm with intent to endanger life. He is due to appear in court in Belfast later.

The threat level from dissidents opposed to the peace process in Northern Ireland remains severe.

Unionist politicians have described the discovery of Semtex, a plastic explosive used by the Provisional IRA during the 1980s and 1990s, as deeply concerning.

Former Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi sent three shipments of Semtex to the PIRA and victims have long been campaigning for compensation from any new Libyan Government.

The Northern Ireland Select Committee at Westminster is also conducting an inquiry into the role of the UK Government in seeking financial redress for those affected by explosives supplied by the Gaddafi regime.

It is believed the quantity of Semtex found in West Belfast would have been sufficient to make three under-car booby trap bombs.

A 29-year-old man arrested on Sunday in connection with the find has been released while a 21-year-old woman detained remains in custody.