Belfast Telegraph

Londonderry security alert that forced families into the street declared a hoax

A security alert in Londonderry that forced families into the street was an "elaborate hoax", police have said.

The incident in the Balbane Pass area on Saturday morning saw ATO officers, the unit responsible for dealing with explosives, called out to the scene.

Officers have removed the suspected device for further examination.

Detective Constable Donnell is appealing for anyone who was in Balbane Pass late last night or early this morning and who witnessed any suspicious activity or anyone with any information that can assist with the investigation to contact detectives in Strand Road on 101 quoting reference number 372 of 09/12/17.

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.

All in the area have now reopened to traffic and residents have returned to their homes.

SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan hit out at those responsible, and said families had been forced out into "some of the coldest weather we've seen this year".

"Parents were forced to take their young children into the freezing snow by those with no consideration or care for this community," he said.

“Those behind this alert have caused serious disruption at a busy time of year for these families and should be ashamed of their actions.

“I will be liaising with police throughout today to ensure that the area is made safe and families can return to their homes as soon as possible."

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