A handgun and bullets "clearly intended for the infliction of serious harm" on the local community, according to a senior policeman, were retrieved from an arms cache in the city this morning.
The suspected firearm, ammunition and component parts were seized during a search in the Southway area.
Derry City and Strabane District Commander Superintendent Gordon McCalmont said: “Detectives from our Serious Crime Branch investigating dissident republican activity began the search this morning.
"A suspected hide was discovered around 10am and ATO were tasked to the scene.
“I can now confirm that my detective colleagues found a suspected handgun, ammunition and other component parts.
"These have all now been removed for further examination. Items such as these are lethal and were clearly going to be used to inflict serious harm and fear in this community."
Superintendent McCalmont said the lethal weaponry could have fallen into the hands of children and condemned the operators of the hide.
He commented: “Whoever is responsible for burying these munitions does not care that these could have been discovered by a member of the public; nor do they care that these are intended to cause serious harm to a victim in the future – a victim from our community who will be someone’s child, mother, father, sister, brother, granny or granddad.
“Police are continually working to disrupt the work of all paramilitaries and today’s search clearly demonstrates our commitment.
"We know that the overwhelming majority of people living in this community do not want terror and harm being inflicted on fellow citizens by a shameful minority.
"Those involved in hiding guns or weapons want to cause harm, they don’t care who gets killed or injured.
"Their desire, to pursue violence and create more victims, has to be challenged.
“And I would appeal to anyone who has any information at all about this hide, or about paramilitary activity of any type, to play their part in helping keeping this community safe by telling police what they know.
"You have the power to make a difference and help PSNI arrest these people, bring them before the courts and remove them from your neighbourhood.
“You can do this by contacting police on 101 or anonymously by ringing Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
"I would also like to thank local people for their patience today while Southway was closed to enable us to remove these dangerous items.”