03 November 2005

Five now held over £26m robbery


Millions were taken from the vaults of the Northern Bank last December

Two more men have been arrested by police investigating last year's £26.5m Northern Bank robbery in Belfast.

A 40-year-old man was arrested in Dungannon and a 43-year-old in Coalisland, both in County Tyrone.

Police are also carrying out more searches in Kilcoo, County Down, in connection with the robbery.

Two men in their 20s arrested in the village on Tuesday are still being questioned, as is a 30-year-old man arrested in Belfast on Wednesday.

The road between Castlewellan and Newry at Kilcoo is blocked by burnt out cars after protests on Wednesday night.

A number of protesters blocked the road.

Kilcoo is a strongly republican village close to Castlewellan.

The stepfather of one of the men arrested on Tuesday said police arrived just as his stepson came home from work at about 2310 GMT.

Police have been carrying out a series of searches

He said his stepson laughed when police told him he was being arrested in connection with the Northern Bank robbery.

The house was searched and it is understood documents, mobile phones, a passport and computer equipment were taken away.

Sinn Fein assembly member for South Down Willie Clarke said the two men arrested are locals and were not members of his party.

Mr Clarke also accused the police of being heavy-handed during the operation.

Police on both sides of the Irish border have blamed the IRA for the robbery. The IRA has denied this.

The robbery happened at the bank's headquarters in Donegall Square West in the city centre in December 2004.

Nobody has been charged with the raid.

Some money seized in County Cork last February was linked to the robbery, but virtually all of the missing millions is still unrecovered.

Last March, the Northern Bank replaced all its £10, £20, £50 and £100 notes with new notes carrying a different logo.

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