Historic police water cannon up for sale
A fortified police vehicle for controlling riots at the start of the Northern Ireland conflict is being sold off in England. The 26-tonne Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) truck was mounted with a water cannon to disperse troublemakers in 1970. It is thought to be the only known example of its kind still in existence, the vendors said.
It spent more than 20 years outside at a museum in Humberside and needs restoration. Military equipment specialists Allsops of Bolton added it had attracted a lot of interest after they bought it on an impulse at an auction.
Jonathan Allsop said: “We have had a lot of enquiries, a lot of people have come forward and told us about the engine.” It no longer runs.
Mr Allsop added: “It has restoration potential and to be quite honest it should be restored.” His Lancashire-based company does a lot of work breathing life into old military vehicles, often from the Second World War. Due to the pandemic the water cannon – a 1970 Foden Pyrene – only arrived in his premises earlier this year after being bought from a museum in Humberside.
Mr Allsop said: “We were buying other stuff at auction and we have the equipment to move it. “It was an impulse purchase. “I had never seen one before.”
He said he had too many projects on the go at the minute to tackle the restoration himself. After the early days of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the use of water cannon was abandoned until the turn of the century.
In 2000 water cannon was deployed at Drumcree in Portadown in Co Armagh during bitter fighting involving loyalist protesters (Haydn West/PA)
In 2000, their modern incarnation was deployed at Drumcree in Portadown in Co Armagh during bitter fighting involving loyalist protesters. Rioters had thrown bricks, petrol bombs and fireworks at police blocking their way to the mainly nationalist Garvaghy Road and set fire to police Land Rovers.
More recently water cannon have been deployed to quell serious parade-related violence in Ardoyne in North Belfast.