Belfast Telegraph

Yobs pelt police with bottles and stones during railway security alert

By Amanda Ferguson

Police were pelted with bottles and stones during a security alert that ended after causing major disruption in Co Armagh for over 24 hours.

Army bomb experts and PSNI officers were called to Lake Street in Lurgan on Sunday evening when a wheelie bin was left on the train tracks between Lisburn and Portadown.

The security alert ended last night.

Lake Street and the railway line re-opened and residents were allowed back to their homes.

Two suspicious objects were examined by Army Technical Officers and declared "elaborate hoaxes".

Craigavon Area Commander, Chief Inspector Paul Reid, said: "The security alert began at around 9.30pm on Sunday night after police received a report that two devices had been left on or near the railway track at Lake Street.

"A security operation was swiftly put into place by police to establish the exact location of the devices.

"In order to ensure the safety of local residents, a number of homes were evacuated.

"Lake Street was closed to traffic and the nearby railway line was also closed."

Chief Inspector Reid confirmed some young people had thrown bottles and stones at his officers in the Lake Street and Levin Road areas, and that a number of petrol bombs had also been recovered.

Mr Reid said: "We understand how frustrating it is when roads and rail lines are closed, causing delays and general inconvenience, however this is never a decision we take lightly.

"Our first priority is always keeping people safe and these closures were necessary to ensure the safety of all in the area.

"I would like to thank local residents and all those affected by this incident for their patience and understanding.

"I am, however, very disappointed that, as my officers were engaged in helping to make the area safe, they were attacked by a small number of youths throwing bottles and stones."

DUP MP David Simpson condemned the hoaxers.

"It has achieved nothing other than to disrupt the lives of hard working people as they attempt to travel. The people that live in this area do not want to see this type of activity. They want to move on and get on about their business. I am meeting the PSNI on Wednesday to discuss the possibility of further resources to protect Lurgan from those who use the same failed tactics in an attempt to drive their political cause."

Chief Inspector Reid appealed for anyone with information about suspicious activity in the area to contact police at Lurgan on the non-emergency number 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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"The entire community should be left in peace. After weeks of disruption and closed roads due to pipe-laying and other necessary road works, it is unacceptable that a small unrepresentative minority have decided to disrupt the lives of the local community once again for no reason. Those responsible are offering nothing to the community other than pointless disruption and need to stop these futile actions."

Deputy mayor of Craigavon Catherine Seeley

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