'Love' letter bombs - gardai and Metropolitan issue new appeal as link to 2014 devices 'formally' established
Gardai and police in London and Scotland have issued a new appeal to people who may have inadvertently come into contact with a number of 'Love' letter bombs sent to addresses in the UK.
And police in London say there is a formal link between these devices - posted last March - and a number of devices sent to various British Army Recruitment Centres back in 2014.
Gardai is investigating the posting of these devices, in conjunction with the Metropolitan Police in London, Police Scotland and the PSNI.
All five parcels were posted from Ireland in March. Three of these were delivered in London, a fourth was delivered in Glasgow, and a fifth parcel addressed to London was returned to the Limerick postal cnetre.
The packages all bore the 'Love Eire' heart stamps - issued by An Post for St Valentine's Day - and had Dublin as a return address.
No arrests have been made.
Statements appealing for the public's assistance were issued by An Garda Siochana and the Metropolitan Police this morning.
"This extremely dangerous and reckless act endangered the lives of innocent persons and could have caused serious harm to anyone handling these devices," gardai said.
"An Garda Síochána thanks the public and in particular postal workers who have provided information to date which has been of benefit to the investigation.
"Further to these ongoing enquiries, it is still possible that members of the public may have information that could help us with our joint investigation and An Garda Síochána want to identify any person, postal workers or other persons, in Ireland who may remember collecting/ seeing the parcels around 1st March 2019 from postal delivery locations within Ireland.
"The investigation to date has recovered forensic evidence, and An Garda Síochána and our partner agencies are keen to eliminate any person who may have innocently come in to contact with the parcels," the statement said.
In their statement, the Met Police say on 11 March, a claim of responsibility for the packages was made by a group claiming to be the ‘New IRA’.
Since then, further analysis of the five packages has been carried out by forensic experts and, due to particular similarities between the devices and the methodology, the investigation teams are now formally linking the packages to those sent to various British Army Recruitment Centres in 2014.
In London, the Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon - who is Senior National Coordinator for the UK's Counter Terrorism Policing - said: “Our enquiries continue, but clearly a key element of the investigation now is the link between the devices previously sent in 2014, and the five sent earlier this year. As with any investigation, we will be led by the evidence, but at this stage, our principal line of enquiry is that the devices were sent by a violent dissident republican group.
“The devices that were sent not only put their intended recipients in danger, but also endangered the lives of all those who handled and processed the parcels both in the Republic of Ireland as well as the UK. This was an extremely dangerous and reckless act and I would urge anyone who may have information about those responsible to contact police.”