A bomb scare at a depot in East Kilbride has been linked to an explosives device found on a lorry bound for Scotland. 

We told yesterday how police in Northern Ireland are investigating a potential dissident republican plot to blow up a lorry due to cross the Irish Sea on Brexit day.

And now it's believed Tuesday's incident, involving a "concerning item" at a Sainsbury's depot on Hurlawcrook Road in Langlands, East Kilbride, is connected to the plot. 

The Glasgow Times said officers initially received a report than an explosive device was on a lorry, bound for Cairnryan, in Belfast docks last Friday.

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However, despite an extensive search, nothing was found.

But three days later, on Monday, officers discovered a bomb attached to a lorry belonging to a named haulage company in a Co. Armagh industrial estate.

Officers have blamed the Continuity IRA for the botched terror bid.

The following day, staff were evacuated from the East Kilbride depot, and it is understood the two incidents are linked. 

Staff were evacuated from the depot on Tuesday as emergency services carried out their investigation.

The area was put in lock-down with police blocking nearby roads. 

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "Police were called to a report concerning an item found within a distribution centre in Hurlawcrook Road, East Kilbride around 2am on Tuesday, 4 February.

"As a precaution, a number of staff were evacuated to a nearby building whilst enquiries and searches were carried out.

"Following a thorough search by specially trained officers, nothing suspicious has been found and the site has returned to normal business."

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Assistant Chief Constable George Clarke said the "carnage" that could have been caused if the ferry device had exploded was worrying to contemplate.

The renegade group entered the yard of a Co Armagh-based company specialising in the transportation of frozen goods and attached the bomb to a heavy goods vehicle they thought was destined for a late-night ferry crossing to Scotland.

READ MORE: Sainsbury's depot in East Kilbride evacuated in bomb scare

But officers suspect the dissidents selected the wrong vehicle, as the trailer containing the bomb did not leave its premises in Lurgan on Friday.

The device was finally discovered at the yard on Monday night after an intensive police search operation.

The security alert was initially prompted when the Belfast newspaper the Irish News received a warning on Friday night that a device had been left on a trailer in Belfast docks.

Mr Clarke said the warning was "sparse and limited".

He said it claimed that the bomb would be on the midnight ferry, when there was no ferry scheduled to depart at that time.

A major police search operation instead focused on a late-night Stena Line ferry to Cairnryan. When nothing was found, the ferry was allowed to sail at 11.16pm.

The Irish News then received a further call on Monday.

"That call contained substantially more detail," said Mr Clarke, who is the PSNI's lead officer on Brexit.

"It gave us the detail of a commercial haulage company and it indicated that the device had been left on a vehicle on a trailer connected to that company and the intention had been for that device to explode on Friday evening at around the time the United Kingdom left the European Union."

Mr Clarke declined to be drawn when asked at a media conference in Belfast whether the device would have had the capacity to sink the ferry.

"I am not going to get into a discussion about the engineering of the device but I will make a very simply point - anybody who plants a device in a public place is reckless to the consequences of their actions and of the potential to kill or seriously injure people in that area," he said.

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"This is an incredibly reckless activity."

Police have now stepped up their presence, both uniformed and undercover, at ports in Northern Ireland amid fears of another attack.

Stena Line declined to comment due to the live police investigation.