Belfast Telegraph

'Elaborate hoax' causes Belfast rush hour havoc and forces residents out of homes

An elaborate hoax was behind a Belfast security alert which forced residents from their homes and caused havoc with the morning rush hour.

Police closed off Madrid Street in east Belfast just before 630am after the discovery of a suspicious object to allow for the Army bomb squad to carry out an examination.  The Short Strand Community Centre was opened to accommodate affected residents.

Sinn Fein east Belfast councillor Mairead O’Donnell said the alert caused significant disruption.

“Those responsible for this morning's disruption have shown complete disregard for the community in Short Strand," she said.

The alert has ended and residents allowed to return to their homes.

Inspector Nigel Loughlin said: “The safety of the community is of paramount importance and we will not take any risks, however, I want to thank the local community for their patience and understanding during this operation.

“Anyone with information about this incident, or who saw any suspicious activity in area in recent days, is asked to contact police on the non emergency number 101, quoting reference 276 of 28/06/18.

“Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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