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Last Updated: Friday, 3 November 2006, 22:37 GMT
Police open fire on lorry in city
Police fired shots at the lorry
Police fired shots at the lorry
Police have opened fire on a lorry which refused to stop in west Belfast, police have said.

The shots were fired after the vehicle failed to stop and collided with a car and a police vehicle in the St James Park area off the Falls Road.

One man was arrested and the Police Ombudsman's office has been informed. There were no injuries.

HM Revenue and Customs officers are investigating the lorry's contents. An amount of fuel is being tested.

A representative of the Ombudsman, which investigates all police shootings, is at the scene of the indicent.

Chris Mahaffey of the Ombudsman's office said he understood police had tried to stop the lorry on the M1 motorway.

"There followed a short pursuit.

"During that I believe that one of the officers got out of the police vehicle he was in and attempted to confront the driver, during which I'm aware a police officer discharged his firearm," he said.

"It will be a thorough investigation - we'll be looking to establish the justification and the reasons why the officer discharged his firearm at the vehicle and this could take some considerable period of time."

The SDLP's Alex Attwood said the police would have to give a "sufficient explanation" as to why shots were fired.

"It gives rise to public anxiety, particularly when it occurs in a heavily built up area," he said.

"The police have to justify why this vehicle was chased off the motorway and why live fire was used, though there are suggestions that this vehicle was chasing through a built up area and crashing through red lights."

Sinn Fein have expressed concern at the shooting.

West Belfast councillor Marie Moore said she had heard that the van was forced off the motorway into a residential area.

"This PSNI operation appears to have been carried out with absolutely no regard for the safety of the people of this community," she said.

"I am very concerned at reports that this van was forced off the motorway into a built-up residential area and that a number of shots were also fired by the PSNI in an area where many children and families would have been going about their business."




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