Sunderland terrorism arrest after Northern Ireland explosives find

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A man has been arrested in Sunderland in connection with terrorism offences.

Officers from the North East Counter Terrorism Unit, together with officers from Northumbria Police and Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI) arrested a 45-year-old man in Sunderland in connection with offences under the Terrorism Act today.

Northumbria Police Chief Superintendent Andy McDyer said: “We would like to reassure the local community that there is nothing to suggest that there was, or is, any risk to people in the area.

“We have extra officers in the area to reassure people and anyone with any concerns can speak to us by ringing 101.”

Detective Inspector Adrian Brown said: “Officers from PSNI Serious Crime Branch, investigating an arms and explosives find in West Belfast on September 18, assisted by Officers from North East Counter Terrorism Unit and Northumbria Police, have arrested a 45-year-old man, this morning in Sunderland.

“There are no further details at this stage.”

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

The PSNI said the search was part of an investigation into violent dissident republican activity.

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.