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Locals in lucky escape after two pipe bomb blasts in Bushmills

By Victoria Leonard

Politicians have called for "an end to the terrorising of Bushmills" after two pipe bombs exploded in residential areas of the village.

The devices went off at around 12.50am yesterday at homes in Woodland Court and Ballaghmore Court.

Police said that damage was caused to both homes, however no one was injured.

A number of elderly people live nearby and were caught up in the chaos.

The incidents were met with strong condemnation from politicians, who warned the devices could easily have caused injury or death.

North Antrim DUP MLA Mervyn Storey said it was "extremely sad that we have people in our society who still believe that they have a right to carry out such attacks".

He added: "Thankfully nobody on this occasion was injured in these attacks, however we should be under no illusion; it is only a matter of time until someone will be seriously injured or worse unless these attacks are dealt with rigorously and condemned by all sections of the community.

"I would appeal for an end to this terrorising of Bushmills.

"It does nothing for its reputation and for the people who live there.

"I would also appeal to anyone who has any information that would be useful in identifying those responsible to contact the police."

North Antrim TUV MLA Jim Allister also hit out at the culprits, slamming the "utter unacceptability" of violence.

"Last night's dual pipe bomb attacks in the heart of a residential area in Bushmills could so easily have caused injury or death, as they are designed to do," he said.

"The fact that on this occasion only property was damaged does not diminish the utter unacceptability of such violence. Those who seek to bring their terror and domination to the community need to be got off the backs of the people. I urge anyone with relevant information to bring it to the PSNI."

TUV councillor Sharon McKillop, who lives in the village, also condemned the attacks

"Children and elderly people live in close proximity to the location of both bombs and it is extremely fortunate that we are not talking about serious injuries or worse this morning," she said.

"I gather that there was real concern for one resident who could not be accounted for for some time, and another elderly resident who recently suffered a bereavement obviously didn't need this.

"I would appeal for anyone with information to come forward to the police.

"There is an onus on the PSNI to get to the root of the problem which caused last night's criminality.

"We don't want this in Bushmills and need to see all those who break the law brought to justice."

Ulster Unionist councillor Norman Hillis said he was "shocked and saddened" over the incidents.

He added: "Fortunately, although there has been damage to property, no one has been injured. This incident is to be utterly condemned.

"Many Bushmills residents have ambitious plans for the future of the village but obviously there are those who want to drag it into the past."

PSNI Inspector Frank Smyth appealed for information on the pipe bombs.

He said: "We are asking anyone who has information in relation to this incident to contact us on 101, quoting ref: 43 17/03/17."

The officer said people could provide information anonymously by calling the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.

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