Three men jailed for pipe bomb possession

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Three men caught with explosives in Derry two years ago have been jailed.

Police stopped three men in a blue Citroen car on the Buncrana Road on September 26, 2011 and recovered a viable pipe bomb type device. Police believed the pipe bomb was to be used in a dissident republican attack.

Eugene McLoone (56), the driver, of Abercorn Road, Daniel Doyle (48) of Bluebell Hill Gardens, the front seat passenger, and Eamonn Cassidy (51) of Glenfada Park, a rear seat passenger have today been jailed at a Belfast court.

Doyle and McLoone pleaded guilty to possession of explosives with intent while Cassidy pleaded guilty to two charges of possession of explosives.

Cassidy was sentenced to eight years, Doyle to seven and a half years and McLoone to seven years. Half of the sentence will be served in prison, the other half on licence.

Detectives from Serious Crime Branch have welcomed the sentences.

A spokesman for Serious Crime Branch said: “If this device had exploded, someone could have been killed or seriously injured. Officers stopped the car on the busy Buncrana Road on a Monday afternoon when there were many local people going about their business.

“We should all be thankful that those in possession of the device were not able to deploy it. Police will continue to combat the threat posed by dissident individuals and groups who plan to use violence to further their agendas.

“We would encourage people in the community to continue to work with us to reduce the threat posed by such reckless individuals so that we can bring them before the courts.”