1k security force guns were stolen from 1970 to 2005

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The security forces in Northern Ireland lost an arsenal of weapons more than big enough to arm an entire battalion between 1970 and 2005 , it’s been revealed.

The PSNI has confirmed that 1052 firearms were recorded as being stolen from members of the security force (police, military and prison service), both on and off duty in Northern Ireland, between January 1, 1970 and December 31, 2005.

This included all thefts from security force establishments and thefts from individual members on or off duty.

Hundreds of self-loading rifles were amongst the weapons that disappeared but incredibly over sixty sub-machine guns also became lost property during the Troubles.

The PSNI has confirmed that 361 L1A1 British Army self loading rifles were recorded as being stolen over the thirty-five year period and that 332 of these were recorded as being recovered. Equally, 63 Sterling sub-machine guns were recorded as being stolen between 1970 and 2005.

Of the weapons which were recovered and stolen, the PSNI refused to give information on how many thefts or recoveries were attributable to the IRA.

It said: “The security of the country is of paramount importance and the PSNI will not divulge whether any other information is or is not held if to do so would place the safety of an individual at risk and undermine National Security.”