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Viable pipe bomb left at west Belfast house

Police said the alert diverted valuable police resources away from the coronavirus response.

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PSNI officers are investigating (PA)

PSNI officers are investigating (PA)

PSNI officers are investigating (PA)

A viable pipe bomb device has been discovered outside a house in west Belfast.

Police attended the scene in Lagmore Grove late on Friday night.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the occupants of the property and nearby residents were not evacuated and instead advised to stay at the back of their homes while Army technical officers made the device safe.

Chief Inspector Gary Reid said: “The device was subsequently taken away for further examination and I can confirm today it contained component parts which, had the device been detonated, would have made it viable.”

Those responsible offer nothing, only disrupting the efforts of our emergency services to help those in most need at this time of crisisDanny Baker, Sinn Fein

Mr Reid said officers hunting the perpetrators were working to establish a motive and the circumstances surrounding the incident.

“It is clear whoever is responsible has no respect, or regard, for the valuable police resources that were diverted away from other community priorities,” he said.

“It beggars belief, that given the unprecedented challenges we, as a police service, face in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic that there are still reckless individuals out there determined to put the lives of others at risk as they did last night in Lagmore Grove.

“This is already a stressful and worrying time for people so, if ever there was a time for this type of senseless activity to stop, it is now.”

He appealed for anyone with information about the incident to come forward.

Sinn Fein councillor Danny Baker condemned those responsible.

“This was a senseless act and shows little regard for the community, our key workers, emergency services and health workers,” he said.

“I appeal for anyone on any information to bring it forward to the PSNI.

“These reckless actions are in stark contrast to the efforts of workers carrying out essential work.

“Those responsible offer nothing, only disrupting the efforts of our emergency services to help those in most need at this time of crisis.

“Our key workers are already under immense pressure as they work whilst the rest of us remain home in our battle against Covid-19.”

PA