Page last updated at 14:18 GMT, Saturday, 12 December 2009

West Belfast houses damaged in controlled explosions

Police tape

Two houses in west Belfast have been damaged after army experts carried out controlled explosions on two vans abandoned following an armed robbery.

Windows were shattered in the houses when the army dealt with a van abandoned in Colinpark Street.

Another controlled explosion in neighbouring Pollard Street caused no damage to properties.

The vans were abandoned after being taken from a business premises in an armed raid in north Belfast.

Five men armed with handguns and a baton entered the building on Westbank Drive off Dargan Road in north Belfast at 1910 GMT on Friday.

They escaped in two white transit vans which belonged to the company.

Thirty houses in three streets, including Elswick Street, were evacuated in the alert.

Michael Todd said windows had been shattered in his sister's house and the house next door.

"The suite and the whole of the living room were covered in smashed glass," he said.

It has not yet been established what else was taken in the robbery. Police have appealed for information.

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