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4 September 1997 Edition

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Loyalists still arming

By Mick Naughton.

North Down has frequently been the location for the manufacture of loyalist death squads arms and munitions and this was the case again last Sunday when six prototype machineguns, a lathe, grinding equipment, drills, a vice and `ancillary parts' were found in a derelict farmhouse on the Comber Road near Newtownards.

For years loyalists using techniques perfected in the light and heavy engineering factories of East Belfast have manufactured `home made' machine guns, particularly replicas of the Sterling and Uzi sub-machine guns.

While crude in design they have been used in many indiscriminate gun attacks, including the machine gunning of nationalist bars and have been responsible for dozens of killings by both the UDA and UVF.

Sunday's find is the latest in a long line of similar discoveries. One of the most significant was close to Ballynahinch in 1988 when over 1,000 Uzi replicas and 30 replica Sterlings were found in a loyalist farmyard. Other parts were later found in a nearby lake.
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