Belfast Telegraph

Courthouse evacuated as dozens overcome by coughing fit... and it wasn't caused by Saharan dust

As Saharan dust threatens to clog the lungs of people in England, something more inflammatory has sparked a mass coughing fit in a Northern Irish courthouse.

Dozens were overcome by coughing in a packed Lisburn courthouse on Thursday morning.

The building had to be evacuated and doors left open to allow the irritant to disperse.

Uniformed police officers told bemused onlookers, in between coughing, that they believed a canister of pepper spray had been released.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Courts Service said: "Court business was temporarily adjourned for a short period of time following the apparent release of a spray inside courtroom one of Lisburn courthouse.

"An investigation has now commenced into the cause of action."

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