Belfast Telegraph

First ever use of drone in Belfast in Ardoyne security scare

By Dave Whelan

A police drone has been used for the first ever time in Belfast following a security alert in the north of the city.

The drone, which has only ever been used at the G8 summit in Co Fermanagh, was deployed to carry out an aerial search of the area after an object was thrown at two men in Ardoyne on Monday afternoon.

A number of residents in Jamaica Street were evacuated from their homes and the road closed off for a short time.

A PSNI spokesman said the "small viable device" was made safe by the Army and taken away for further examination.

Sinn Fein councillor for the area, Gerry McCabe described the device as a pipe bomb and said that those responsible have only achieved further disruption for the local community.

"Yet again we have had families forced to leave their homes because of an explosive device in north Belfast," he said.

"Thankfully no one was hurt on this occasion but it is only a matter of time before someone gets injured or worse by these crude devices and more than likely it is not going to be the intended target.

"Local residents were forced from their homes and for what? The people of Ardoyne want to get on with their lives and don't want these gangs, including those using the cover of calling themselves republicans, bringing disruption and fear to the community."

The area was reopened shortly before 8pm when a police spokesperson said " The use of an Unmanned Aerial System assisted in this clearance operation and minimised disruption to the local community by bringing the incident to a safe and satisfactory conclusion."

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