Belfast Telegraph

Homes evacuated as suspicious object found in searches for bomb-making material

The object was discovered in a house in the Creggan Heights area of Londonderry.

Police in Creggan Heights, Londonderry, after residents were evacuated when a suspicious device was found in a house (Aoife Moore/PA)
Police in Creggan Heights, Londonderry, after residents were evacuated when a suspicious device was found in a house (Aoife Moore/PA)

By Aoife Moore, PA

Homes in Londonderry have been evacuated after a suspicious object was found during searches.

The object was discovered in a house in the Creggan Heights area of Derry amid searches for bomb-making material, the PSNI confirmed.

“As today’s public safety operation progresses our efforts are now focused in the area of Creggan Heights following the discovery of a suspicious object. We will continue to keep the community updated,” said the PSNI.

Residents were initally prevented from entering the residential street as a police cordon was put in place across Rathmore Crescent and the main road leading up to the Creggan Heights area.

A number of uniformed PSNI officers could be seen around the area, and entering and exiting a house in Creggan Heights where the device is believed to have been found.

One resident of Rathmore Crescent, who was returning home from work at around 4pm, was told by officers that she would not be able to drive into her street or enter her home until the cordon was removed.

“I was coming home from my shift when I saw the police stopping and directing cars. When I told them where I lived they told me I wouldn’t be able to pass the cordon,” she said.

“He told me they couldn’t have anyone standing on the street and asked me to go somewhere else as the bomb squad are on their way.

“I had to drive to a street nearby and park there and just wait. You could see police going in and out of a house.”

The PSNI confirmed officers would evacuate homes at around 4:45pm.

“Following the discovery of a suspicious object in the area of Creggan Heights, and to ensure the safety of local residents, the decision has been taken to evacuate homes,” a statement said.

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Police at the scene in Creggan Heights (Aoife Moore/PA)

“We recognise the impact this will have on local residents and in partnership with our colleagues in council, the Corn Beef Tin (a community centre) in Central Drive has been opened as a rest centre.

“We also want to advise the community that Rathmore Roundabout to Fanad Drive is closed. Diversions are in place.

“Our priority is ensuring the safety of the community and we are grateful for your patience and understanding.”

PSNI Superintendent Gordon McCalmont said earlier on Monday that dozens of officers would engage in a search for bomb-making material on the Creggan estate after a dissident republican mortar bomb was recovered in the Irish border town of Strabane on Saturday.

New IRA renegades were blamed after a passer-by found the explosive device on a wall on Saturday morning. It had been sitting there for hours, close to a family home, police said.

It was the seventh incident of its kind this year and senior officers are alarmed by the threat posed by anti-peace process gunmen.

A 33-year-old man arrested in Church View, Strabane, by police investigating the device, was released on Monday evening following questioning, and the PSNI said the incident remained under investigation.

PA

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