Cookstown weapons cache was found in a blue barrel

Cookstown's Tullyveagh Road. Google Street View
Cookstown's Tullyveagh Road. Google Street View

A weapons cache that was found buried in a blue barrel in a Cookstown field has been sent away for forensic testing by the PSNI.

The discovery off Tullyveagh Road, which included fire arms and a quantity of ammunition, was first reported to police on Friday evening.

It led to a number of people being evacuated from nearby homes while Army Technical Officers surveyed the find - which is understood to have been “more than hand guns”.

Police were working in the area until Sunday evening, after which they said: “Police have recovered firearms and a quantity of ammunition during a search operation in Cookstown.

“The search was implemented after a member of the public raised concerns about objects he had discovered at Tullyveagh Road on Friday, April 7.”

Detective Inspector Will Tate added: “The condition of the items and other evidence gathered at the scene would suggest they have been buried at that location for many years. They have now been sent for forensic testing.”

Describing the find as “sinister”, Mid Ulster DUP MLA, Keith Buchanan said: “When you find one gun, it’s sinister enough, but when you find more than one it’s a bit more alarming. Who they belong to is another question.”

Praising the person who reported the weapons discovery, Mid Ulster District Council chair Cllr Trevor Wilson added: “I want to commend the member of the public who came across these weapons for acting swiftly and alerting the police. It is welcome that they have now been removed for testing and can pose no further danger to the public.”