Belfast Telegraph

Derry on alert: Police respond to reports of abandoned vehicle, homes evacuated

The scene on the Northland Road outside St. Mary's College where a hijacked van was left on Monday night. Picture Martin McKeown.
The scene on the Northland Road outside St. Mary's College where a hijacked van was left on Monday night. Picture Martin McKeown.

Police in Londonderry are responding to a report of an abandoned vehicle on the Northland Road area of the city.

In a post on social media, PSNI Foyle said: "Folks we are responding to a report of an abandoned vehicle on the Northland Road close to the Glenbank Road junction. Please avoid the area at this time."

Folks we are responding to a report of an abandoned vehicle on the Northland Road close to the Glenbank Road junction. Please avoid the area at this time.

Posted by PSNI Foyle on Monday, January 21, 2019

It is understood a delivery van was hijacked and has been left in the middle of the road.

Early reports from the scene state homes in the area have been evacuated.

Foyle SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan wrote on Twitter: "Another blow against the Empire... The third security alert of the day, this one on Northland Road will result in many elderly people having to leave their homes on an absolutely freezing night. Disgraceful."

Police have also said there has been an attempted hijacking of a bus in the Moss road area of the city.

We appreciate there is a lot happening in the city tonight folks. It’s important we have the right information out...

Posted by PSNI Foyle on Monday, January 21, 2019

The news comes following two security alerts in the city on Monday that are ongoing.

Army Technical Officers have carried out a controlled explosion on a hijacked van in Londonderry's Circular Road.

A second security alert is taking place less than a mile away on Southway after a Royal Mail van was hijacked at gunpoint and abandoned.

It comes after the Derry courthouse bomb attack on Saturday night.

A police car blocks, the scene at Southway wheere a second security alert is under way.
A police car blocks, the scene at Southway wheere a second security alert is under way.
Police are at the scene of a security alert in Londonderry. Photo: Martin McKeown.
The scene at Circular Road in the Creggan area of Derry where a security operation is underway after reports of the hijacking of a van. Picture Martin McKeown.

Just before 1.45pm police received a report a delivery driver's vehicle had been hijacked on Southway by four masked men, one was said to have had a gun.

The two occupants in the van were ordered to drive the vehicle to the Lonemoor Road and leave it.

Police had been clearing the area due to an earlier alert on Monday morning at around 11.30am.

PSNI Superintendent Gordon McCalmont said police were making to work the area safe.

"Sadly, within two hours today, we are dealing with a second security alert in the City, which means even more disruption for the local community," he said.

"I know this second security alert and the measures we are taking to keep people safe will cause significant inconvenience for the local community, but we have no choice.

"I want to ask the public for their patience, and thank them for their co-operation while we work to make the scene safe."

Earlier a white Transit van was reportedly hijacked by three masked men who threw an object in the back of it before abandoning it in Derry's Creggan estate.

A number of homes have been evacuated.

SDLP Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan said that he was told that the driver of the vehicle had been asked to take the van with a package that had been placed in it into the city centre.

Mr Durkan said the driver then abandoned the van in the Circular Road area.

"This incident is yet another major disruption for residents in the Creggan area, on top of the disruption and distruction that was caused in the city centre over the weekend," he said.

"The only people suffering here are local people. These attacks are as illogical as they are unacceptable."

The latest incidents follows an explosion outside Londonderry Courthouse in Bishop Street on Saturday.

A delivery driver was hijacked and a bomb was planted in the car. Nobody was injured in the explosion.

Police have blamed the attack on the New IRA.

Five people have been arrested in connection with the incident.

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