Belfast Telegraph

Shock as kids played with object at centre of Northern Ireland security alert

By Jonathan Bell

There has been shock that children played with an object that was at the centre of a security alert in Belfast.

Such was the elaborate nature of the Hoax device left close to the back wall of Woodbourne police station on the Stewartstown Road on Thursday night that a controlled explosion was carried out by the Army.

Read more: Elaborate device device left close to Belfast police station

Brian Heading, SDLP councillor for the area said: "I am glad the prompt action of the device got this device removed. This tied up police resources when they should be involved in tackling crime and protecting community from criminals. Instead resources have been diverted by a sophisticated hoax.

"The people behind this need to take a serious look at what they are doing to the community."

He added: "I understand children were playing with it which makes the whole matter even worse. Had it been a real bomb we could have been looking at something much worse."

Inspector Kellie McMillan said: "Whilst on this occasion the object turned out not to be a viable device, reports that children innocently playing in the area had come into contact with it prior to police being informed are deeply concerning.

"The object has been seized for forensic examination and police will be following all lines of enquiry."

The officer added: "Whatever the intention of those who placed this object, it is clear that they wish to instil fear, disrupt the community and attempt to deter the delivery of a policing service to the community. Placing this object in an area where children play and families live demonstrates clear carelessness and complete disregard for the local people of West Belfast who are simply trying to go about their day to day lives.

"I know residents do not want this kind of disruption on their doorstep and so I would ask anyone who may be able to help the police officers investigating this incident, to please get in touch by calling 101 quoting reference 1134 15/06/17. You can also provide information anonymously by calling the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.”

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