Breakaway IRA group Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH) has said it has recovered intelligence on the PSNI and British Army in the North from a mobile phone dropped by a member of the PSNI during an arrest operation.
The ONH revealed the find in a coded telephone call to a Belfast newsroom this week. Among the files recovered from the phone were details of Crown force operations, as well as photographs of PSNI members and soldiers.
Using a recognised codeword, ONH said it had “gleaned whatever information needed” from the phone which a spokesperson said had been in the group’s possession “for over a year”.
The spokesperson added: ‘ONH will continue to exploit weaknesses where we find them.’
The revelation comes a month after a British soldier had a narrow escape from an ONH attack following a separate breach of Crown force security.
The PSNI has now told at least 13 of its members that their personal details were in the hands of ONH.
A number of embarrasing photographs were subsequently published in the press, including one of a PSNI member on regular patrol wearing paramilitary combat fatigues; and another of two PSNI men sitting on the thrones in the Throne Room at Hillsborough Castle, beneath the queen’s coat of arms.
Ulster Unionist Assembly member Ross Hussey called for members of the PSNI to be banned from carrying personal phones while they are on duty.
Mr Hussey said: “No police officer should carry a mobile phone with them whilst on duty.”
Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly called for “a full report” on the investigation into the incident.