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Kids' football tournament at school hit by bomb alert

By Laura Abernethy

Published 22/03/2016

Cambridge Avenue in Ballymena is closed due to 'suspicious object'
Cambridge Avenue in Ballymena is closed due to 'suspicious object'

More than 60 children taking part in a football competition were evacuated from the grounds of a Ballymena school last night during a security alert.

A suspicious object was discovered outside the gates of Cambridge House Grammar School on Cambridge Avenue just before 8pm. The young people were evacuated from the grounds of the school as a youth football tournament was taking place.

Elderly residents and young families were also evacuated from their homes and the road was closed as police and Army bomb disposal experts examined the object.

The PSNI later said the device was an "improvised firework", and residents have returned to their homes.

SDLP Assembly candidate Connor Duncan said: "Once again people in our community have been forced from their homes as police and the Army attend a security alert in the Cambridge Avenue area.

"The proximity of this alert to a local school is extremely worrying. The safety and security of our children should be beyond question and those who would seek to jeopardise it are beneath contempt."

Meanwhile, a security alert in Londonderry ended last night after a pipe bomb was discovered during a search of a property in Sperrin Park in the Caw area.

Army bomb disposal officers examined the suspicious object before taking it away for further forensic tests.

SDLP Foyle MLA Gerard Diver said: "To have placed a pipe bomb in a densely populated area like this was utterly reckless and could have resulted in a real tragedy.

"Derry is a city transformed, there's no room here for reckless thugs seeking to bring murder and mayhem back to our streets.

"Those behind this device had no concern whatsoever for the local people who might have got caught up in their plan for death and destruction."

The alerts follow a series of others that caused disruption across Northern Ireland over the weekend.

A suspect device near Creighton's garage in south Belfast early on Sunday was later declared a hoax.

A pipe bomb caused damage after it was thrown at a house in the New Lodge in north Belfast overnight on Saturday.

And a security alert in Carrickfergus on Saturday ended after a suspicious object was found to be nothing untoward.

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