Businesses put up pounds 1m reward

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ORGANISATIONS and individuals representing British business have launched a pounds 1m reward fund to help catch IRA terrorists operating in Britain, Scotland Yard announced yesterday.

It is the first time reward money has been made available nationally to the public for information about all IRA attacks. Previously, rewards were only available to registered police informants or from local funds for specific incidents.

Police refused to disclose any details of those behind the fund, who they said wished to remain anonymous for fear of becoming IRA targets. However, it is known that the group, which is likely to include interests representing the City of London, approached the Yard of its own accord.

Payments will be available to those who supply useful information however it is received, but Scotland Yard is actively encouraging people to use the Anti-Terrorist Branch 24-hour freephone number - 0800 789 321.

Decisions on how the money will be allocated will be made by a group of senior police officers and private sector administrators.

During the recent campaign, the IRA has concentrated on economic targets - most dramatically in the City of London.

A Yard spokesman said the initiative demonstrated the determination of the business community to support the work of the police.

He said: 'If there is the possibility that the potential of a large sum of cash might persuade someone to talk to us then a scheme of this kind is worthwhile.'