NI Brexit Day bomb plot: PSNI foil dissident republican plan to detonate bomb attached to lorry on ferry crossing Irish Sea

The PSNI has foiled a plot by dissident republicans to detonate an explosive device attached to a lorry on a ferry crossing between Northern Ireland and Scotland on the day the United Kingdom officially left the EU.

Thursday, 6th February 2020, 12:37 pm
Updated Thursday, 6th February 2020, 1:24 pm

The PSNI’s Terrorism Investigation Unit received information on Friday January 31 (the day the UK left the EU aka 'Brexit Day') that an explosive device had been planted on a lorry in Belfast docks.

The information received by the PSNI confirmed the lorry was due to travel from Northern Ireland to Scotland.

Detective Superintendent Sean Wright, PSNI’s Terrorism Investigation Unit said: “Following communications released by police yesterday, Wednesday, 5 February, of an explosive device in Silverwood Industrial Estate, Lurgan I can confirm that police first received a report on the evening of Friday, 31 January that an explosive device was in a lorry in Belfast docks.

The PSNI received the communication on Friday January 31, the day the UK left the EU.
The PSNI received the communication on Friday January 31, the day the UK left the EU.

"That report informed police that the lorry was due to travel by ferry to Scotland.

"Based on this information police conducted checks of the docks area and worked with the ferry company, Belfast Harbour authorities and Police Scotland to try to locate that device.

"After thorough checks nothing was found. The ferry sailed and arrived safely in Scotland."

D.S Wright added: “On the evening of Monday, 3 February, police received a further report that the explosive device had been attached to a lorry belonging to a named haulage company.

"This more detailed information enabled police to conduct focused investigations with the haulage company.

"Working throughout the evening of Monday, 3 February, and Tuesday, 4 February, police and the haulage company eliminated in the region of 400 vehicles in order to locate the explosive device.

"The device was subsequently found attached to a heavy goods vehicle in the Silverwood Industrial Estate.

"That explosive device was made safe by ATO colleagues."

D.S. Wright went on to describe the plot as showing disregard for the safety of the public.

“It is clear from the information available to police that Dissident Republicans deliberately and recklessly attached an explosive device to a heavy goods vehicle in the full knowledge and expectation that it would put the driver of that vehicle, road users and the wider public at serious risk of injury and possible death.

"Had this vehicle travelled and the device had exploded at any point along the M1, across the Westlink or into the Harbour estate the risks posed do not bear thinking about.

"The only conclusion that we can draw is that once again Dissident Republicans have shown a total disregard for the community, for businesses and for wider society.”

Detective Superintendent Wright concluded: “My appeal today is for anyone who was in the area of Silverwood Industrial Estate between 4.00pm and 10.00pm on Friday, 31 January and who may have noticed any unusual activity in the area to contact police.

"In addition I ask that anyone who was driving in the area and who would have dash-cam footage around these same times that they contact police, as a matter of urgency.

“Police can be contacted on the non-emergency number 101. Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”