Belfast Telegraph

Derry residents furious at two-day disruption as terrorists leave viable device in field

By Donna Deeney

Angry residents hit out after a viable device was left in the heart of their community.

The discovery followed a security alert in the Lettershandoney area of Londonderry that dragged on for two days.

Extensive searches began on Wednesday night and continued until yesterday evening, when the device was discovered in undergrowth. It was taken away for examination.

PSNI Superintendent Gordon McCalmont said vague information hindered the operation.

"I am well aware how frustrating it has been for those people who have had their lives disrupted and I thank them for their patience and understanding," he said.

"When violent dissident criminals tell us that there is a device in the area we do not take chances. Conflicting and inaccurate information provided by those criminal elements prolonged this operation further and the blame lies squarely with those individuals who seem intent on creating fear and causing harm within our communities."

The level of disruption was widespread with many families struggling to get children to back to school.

One woman whose daughter started primary one class at Mullabuoy Primary School said her daughter's memory of her first day at school was tainted.

She said: "A child's first day at school is supposed to be a happy memory that stays with them all their lives but my wee girl's first day at school will be of going to school in the middle of a bomb scare. The school might be in the estate but we are behind the cordon and we have had to drive for 15 minutes instead of walking for five.

"This has been pathetic, we can't even get to the shop without having to get into the car and driving halfway around the country and for what?

"We have had to put up with this for two days while the police tried to find this bomb. I don't blame the police but do blame the ones who put it there."

SDLP councillor Jim McKeever hit out at the culprits, saying it had caused massive disruption.

He said: "This has been a long and protracted incident over and the finger of blame can only be pointed in the direction of the dissident republicans who placed that device in the middle of a residential area."

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