Belfast Telegraph

Ballymoney police praised after stand-off with vulnerable man who had a knife resolved

By Donna Deeney

Police officers who negotiated for four hours with a vulnerable man in Ballymoney were praised for their efforts in defusing the tense situation.

Emergency services were called to Trinity Drive at 8pm on Tuesday.

A resident in an agitated state is understood to have armed himself with a knife.

The man was taken by ambulance to hospital at around midnight and treated for minor injuries to his neck.

Among a crowd of hundreds who watched the drama unfold was local UUP councillor Darryl Wilson.

He said that he went to the scene after being alerted by a number of constituents.

"I had been called by around 20 people who contacted me to say they were worried," he said.

"When I arrived at Trinity Drive there was an ambulance, a paramedic vehicle and at least seven PSNI vehicles, and as the night went on that number increased to at least 12 PSNI vehicles.

"Police were obviously treating the incident very seriously and were taking their time with the man, who was inside a second-floor flat.

"We could see the police inside the hallway and stairwell and we could hear shouting from inside the flat."

Mr Wilson said that it was clear the man was very agitated.

"There were hundreds of people standing about who saw the heavy police presence and who were obviously very concerned about what was going on," he added.

"It was very distressing to witness and people were fearful for their own safety and were concerned that something like this was happening in their own area and in their own street.

"I have to say, the PSNI handled the situation very, very well and there was no sense of panic coming from them; it was clear they had the site well secured and were focused on the man inside the flat."

Police eventually gained access to the flat, where it is understood they found the man with a stab wound to his neck. However, his injury is not believed to be serious.

Mr Wilson added: "The man was led away around midnight, but it was unclear whether or not he had any serious injuries because people kept a safe distance away from where the ambulance was.

"There was a real sense of relief among us all that the situation was handled so well and that the man was removed to safety, but there was also a sense of shock that something like this could have happened in an area that is usually so quiet."

The councillor said that the majority of people in the street had lived there for decades, but that the man at the centre of the police operation was relatively new to the area.

The PSNI confirmed: "Officers attended the address, along with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.

"One man was taken to hospital."

Belfast Telegraph

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