VIDEO: Police close Larne’s Carnfunnock Country Park for second security search

Carnfunnock Country Park has been closed by police. INLT-36-700-con
Carnfunnock Country Park has been closed by police. INLT-36-700-con

Police have closed part of Larne’s Carnfunnock Country Park to the public for a second time as they conduct a security search.

The police, forensics officers and fire brigade are currently at the scene.

Forensic teams at Carnfunnock Country Park. INLT-36-701-con

Forensic teams at Carnfunnock Country Park. INLT-36-701-con

It is understood that a device has been found, but this has not yet been confirmed by police.

The most recent search follows yesterday’s closure by police of Larne’s Town Park and an Inver Road site, believed to be the old bleach works, in the continuing probe over dissident Republican terrorism.

The Town Park has since reopened to the public.

Residents including young families were evacuated during the Inver Road operation, and local business Drumalis Garden Centre was forced to close.

The fire brigade at Carnfunnock Country Park. INLT-36-702-con

The fire brigade at Carnfunnock Country Park. INLT-36-702-con

Speaking from the scene at Carnfunnock, DUP Councillor Paul Reid said that the searches had caused “disruption” to local people.

“Unfortunately for a second time they have had to close Carnfunnock Country Park, one of the borough’s main tourist attractions,” he stated.

“This is a park of great interest to people not only in Larne but across our Province and now for the second time now we have seen our Country Park shut.

“This is causing disruption on a lovely sunny Wednesday morning when people would normally be out walking their dogs and exercising.

“Obviously there is a great annoyance and upset among the community and electorate in Larne to witness these searces.

“People thought we had moved beyond these troubles but unfortunately there are those that want to take us backwards back to the day of the bomb and the bullet.

“I praise the PSNI and the Metropolitan Police and those involved in those searches.

“I would plead with anyone who has any information to take it to the police so that they can apprehend those responsible.”

Carnfunnock was previously closed in March for a security search, during which a terrorist hide was uncovered.

30-year-old Royal Marine Ciaran Maxwell, from Larne, was detained in Somerset by officers from the Metropolitan Police Service’s Counter Terrorism Command last Wednesday.

His arrest is understood to be linked to the discovery of the terrorist hide at Carnfunnock Country Park as well as an arms dump at Capanagh Forest.

Police were today given a further warrant for Mr Maxwell’s detention until 12.20pm on Wednesday September 7.

A 27-year-old man was also arrested in the Larne area on the morning of Monday August 29 by detectives from Serious Crime Branch investigating dissident republican terrorist activity. Police say he is currently “assisting them with their enquiries”.

On August 31 were granted an extra five days to question him.

A PSNI spokesperson said: “We are following a number of lines of enquiry however as this investigation is at an early stage, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”