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PSNI confirm live ammunition recovered as Wattlebridge security alert ends - device declared a hoax

The two-week long security alert in the Wattlebridge Road area of County Fermanagh has ended.

Police confirmed that a device left at a bus shelter was a hoax and live ammunition has been recovered from the area.

The alert began on January 13 when police responded to reports of a suspicious device being left in the area. The Continuity IRA (CIRA) claimed they had opened fire on a police helicopter the following evening, however police denied this.

Police said that, if the claims were true, they believed a privately owned helicopter flying in the area may have been targeted. The helicopter did not sustain any damage and those on board were unaware it was being fired at.

In a statement last week, the CIRA claimed they tried to draw officers to the location for a gun attack.

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PSNI Chief Superintendent Andy Freeburn said all roads have now been reopened and he thanked the community for their patience and support.

"This was a challenging and complex operation, made all the more difficult by the weather conditions. I would also like to thank our officers, our colleagues in An Garda Síochána and army bomb disposal experts for their assistance and expertise," he said.

"A device left at a bus shelter has been declared a hoax. Four rounds of ammunition have also been recovered. They have now been taken away for forensic examination.


The device which was declared a hoax

The device which was declared a hoax

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

The device which was declared a hoax

"At this stage, it is too early to determine if any weapons were fired, as has been claimed.

"No community should have to live under the threat of such violence and we will now focus upon our investigation.

"We would ask anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area from January 13th to get in contact with us on 101."

The incident was not the first attempt by the CIRA to lure police to the Wattlebridge Road area.

In August 2019, while responding to a security alert, police and Army Technical Officers narrowly escaped injury when a bomb exploded on the main A3 Cavan Road as they were inspected a hoax device.

Police have said the CIRA were also behind a booby trap device in Craigavon in July 2019 and an explosive device on a heavy goods vehicle in Lurgan in January 2020.

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