Page last updated at 15:53 GMT, Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Shops get Christmas fire bomb warning

Home base fire bomb attack 2006
Dissident republicans have carried out several fire bomb attacks on shops

Shop owners in Northern Ireland have been urged to regularly check their businesses for incendiary bombs in the run-up to Christmas.

Dissident republicans have carried out several fire bomb attacks on shops in recent years.

PSNI Inspector David Connery said retailers should regularly check their premises for anything suspicious.

He said an extra few minutes of vigilance could stop a store being damaged or even a life being lost.

"Incendiary devices can be left anywhere that can catch fire easily, in garments, soft furnishings and upholstery," Inspector Connery said.

"They have the potential to destroy property and take human life.

"If something looks out of place, or even just raises concern, contact your local police. Never touch or attempt to move any suspicious looking objects - contact police immediately.

"We are also advising business owners and managers to review security measures and check premises thoroughly both during and after trading."

Last year, shops in Belfast city centre and Cookstown, County Tyrone, were targeted in dissident incendiary attacks.

A wave of such attacks across Northern Ireland in 2006 caused £25m of damage.

In Belfast, a Homebase store was destroyed, a sports shop damaged and a toy shop targeted, while two stores were destroyed and five damaged in Newry.

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