Belfast Telegraph

Police petrol-bombed during Derry alert - boy (12) arrested after disorder

Suspicious object declared an elaborate hoax

The security alert in Derry last night
The security alert in Derry last night
Mark Edwards

By Mark Edwards

Petrol bombs have been thrown at PSNI officers while they were dealing with a security alert near a polling station in Londonderry.

Police were called to Moss Park in Derry at around 7pm after reports of a suspicious device - later found to be an elaborate hoax - in the vicinity of St Paul's Primary School, which was being used for the European election.

When officers attended the scene they came under attack with five petrol bombs being thrown at them.

One of the petrol bombs was thrown in Glengalliagh Park, where there were a number of children close to where it landed.

Police recovered six petrol bombs, along with 20 paint bombs and two crates of empty bottles.

Two teenagers aged 17 and a boy aged 12 have been arrested in connection with the disorder.

All three were in custody last night.

Sinn Fein councillor Aileen Mellon said she believed dissident republicans were not behind the incident.

"This is groups of young people," she told the BBC.

"We have had issues with this over the last month or two months. It is an easy way to lure the police in. I don't think there is anything else malicious behind it or anyone orchestrating it."

Last month journalist Lyra McKee was shot dead in Derry by dissident republicans during unrest in the city.

Superintendent Gordon McCalmont said: "There is no doubt my officers were lured into the area and those involved in this orchestrated disorder had one aim in mind - to attack police.

"This was all the more reckless by the fact that one of the petrol bombs hurled at police landed in close proximity to young children who could have been left seriously injured or worse.

"This security alert is the second this month in this area, impacting the same community that was disrupted on May 2 during local council elections.

"It cannot be lost on anyone the disruption this has caused in the local community, let alone the potential for serious harm.

“The blame for the inconvenience, however, lies squarely with those individuals who left this close to a local school, which was being used as a polling station this evening. Those responsible have absolutely nothing to offer local people or society in general.

"I want to thank the public for their patience.

"I would urge anyone who has information about the disorder this evening to contact police at Strand Road on 101 quoting reference number 1639 of 23/05/19."

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