Bomb alert ‘stark contrast’ to children’s joy at Christmas switch on

Santa waving to the crowds below at Guildhall Square.
Santa waving to the crowds below at Guildhall Square.

The hoax bomb beside a city centre police station last night stood in stark contrast a few hours earlier as thousands of children gathered to see Santa switch on the Christmas lights, a Foyle MLA has said.

DUP Assemblyman Gary Middleton this morning spoke out against those who planted the hoax bomb device overnight.

Mr Middleton said: “I want to condemn the activity which took place last night not too far from where the Christmas lights were switched on earlier the same evening.

“I have received information that tourists were returning back to the Bed and Breakfast and couldn’t get in because of the police cordons, and there are a lot of people who still can’t get into businesses this morning.”

Part of the Asylum Road area at Bayview Terrace area, where the device was left, remained cordoned off today as police comb the scene.

The alert began after 11pm on Thursday, just a few hours after thousands of people crammed into Guildhall Square to watch Santa, the Mayor and local children press the button to officially begin the city’s festive calendar of events.

At 10pm a car was hijacked at Quarry Street in the Brandywell before, it is understood, being driven to the area with the hoax device inside.

A number of residents were evacuated overnight as a result of the hoax device.

Mr Middleton said: “The people whose lives are disrupted by this is the local community and these people who left this would have known what their actions would have caused. They would have known that this area would have to be cordoned off immediately.

“It is almost two completely different tales within the city. You had thousands of children out to see the city lit up and Santa and in another area of the city you had people plotting to plant this hoax device. The difference could not be more stark.”

DUP Assemblyman Gary Middleton this morning spoke out against those who planted the hoax bomb device overnight.

Foyle MLA Gary Middleton. INLS1215-104KM

Foyle MLA Gary Middleton. INLS1215-104KM

Mr Middleton said: “I want to condemn the activity which took place last night not too far from where the Christmas lights were switched on earlier the same evening.

“I have received information that tourists were returning back to the Bed and Breakfast and couldn’t get in because of the police cordons, and there are a lot of people who still can’t get into businesses this morning.”

Part of the Asylum Road area at Bayview Terrace area, where the device was left, remained cordoned off today as police comb the scene.

The alert began after 11pm on Thursday, just a few hours after thousands of people crammed into Guildhall Square to watch Santa, the Mayor and local children press the button to officially begin the city’s festive calendar of events.

It is almost two completely different tales within the city. You had thousands of children out to see the city lit up and Santa and in another area of the city you had people plotting to plant this hoax device.

Gary Middleton, DUP Foyle MLA.

At 10pm a car was hijacked at Quarry Street in the Brandywell before, it is understood, being driven to the area with the hoax device inside.

A number of residents were evacuated overnight as a result of the hoax device.

Mr Middleton said: “The people whose lives are disrupted by this is the local community and these people who left this would have known what their actions would have caused. They would have known that this area would have to be cordoned off immediately.

“It is almost two completely different tales within the city. You had thousands of children out to see the city lit up and Santa and in another area of the city you had people plotting to plant this hoax device. The difference could not be more stark.”