11/02/2005

Beragh search fails to find bank raid evidence

Police detectives who conducted a two-day search of land and property in County Tyrone have admitted that they failed to find anything anything of significance.

The search, in connection with the Northern Bank robbery last December, turned up no evidence and yesterday, in a statement, the Donnelly family, who own the land and premises, said that they were at a loss to explain why the search had taken place.

The two-day operation near Beragh in Co Tyrone concluded on Thursday with officers leaving the scene empty handed.

Sinn Fein MLA for West Tyrone, Barry McElduff, said: "They have been searching for, according to this warrant that I have in my possession, vehicles associated with the Northern Bank robbery and notes stolen from the bank on 20 December 2004."

Last month, detectives investigating the £26.5 million raid in Belfast asked members of the public who may have witnessed a coerced bank employee handing over £1 million to one of the robbers at a bus stop at Upper Queen Street to come forward.

Detective Superintendent Andrew Sproule, who is leading the police investigation, released new CCTV footage which showed one the victims employed by the Northern Bank leaving its Donegall Square West headquarters on the evening of Monday 20 December 2004 with a sports bag containing £1 million in cash.

The victim was instructed to make his way to a bus stop at Upper Queen Street in Belfast where he handed over the distinctive sports bag bearing the UMBRO name and logo to an unknown man.

Detectives are continuing to appeal for information regarding the footage or whereabouts of a white van used in the robbery to contact on 028 9065 0222 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

(MB/SP)

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