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PROVO MASSACRE PSNI STATION SOLD; Scene of 11 killings set to be used for housing.


A BOMBED police station which was the scene of the SAS killings of eight IRA men was sold yesterday, the Daily Mirror can reveal.

The Loughgall base in Co Armagh will now change hands for pounds 200,000.

The former RUC barracks, which was normally staffed on a part-time basis, was targeted by the IRA's deadly East Tyrone Brigade almost 24 years ago on May 8, 1987.

The eight-man IRA gang sprayed the building with automatic gunfire and drove a JCB carrying 200lb of explosives in its front bucket into the station.

But the gang were watched by three RUC officers inside and a 24-strong team of SAS officers.

The gang had been copying two earlier attacks, the first in Ballygawley, on December 7, 1985, and the second in the Birches, near Portadown, on August 11, 1986.

In these attacks the IRA raked the bases with gunfire, before breaching the reinforced fences and exploding a bomb inside.

In both attacks, the bases were destroyed and most of those inside were killed. And their heavily armed attack on Loughgall was intended to have the same effect.

But this time the IRA unit was met by hail of between 600 and 1,000 bullets.

One civilian was shot dead during the incident.

Another six IRA gang members travelling in three cars in a supporting role of the attack managed to escape detection.

After the shoot-out the security forces recovered eight IRA weapons from the scene - three Heckler & Koch G3 rifles, one FN rifle, two FNC rifles, a Ruger revolver and a Spas-12 shotgun.

And police linked the guns to seven murders and 12 attempted murders in the mid-Ulster area, all believed to have been set up by leader Jim Lynagh, who was nicknamed The Executioner.

Now the former RUC station will be demolished and the property, including half an acre of land, will be redeveloped.

It is not yet clear who made the successful bid for the property. Estate agents Stevenson & Cumming, with offices in Portadown and Banbridge, were unavailable for comment yesterday.

The sale of Loughgall police station has upset a number of locals. One resident told the Daily Mirror: "We're devastated to have lost our police station particularly at a time when we in a border region are under major threat from dissident republicans.

"But it has not been manned for a long time now and we have to face the fact that it's gone.

"It would be better for the village to have a police station, but if we're not allowed one, then the building should be tumbled and the land put to good use."

The Daily Mirror understands the PSNI has closed 19 police stations and now operates 87 - 39 of which are open 24 hours.

The PSNI were unable to confirm last night how many police stations have been closed despite the deepening security threat.

A spokesman said: "We're closing our office soon. Can you wait until tomorrow?"


BLASTED Loughgall police station after the IRA attack SOLD Asign outside the station yesterday
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 27, 2011
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