A security alert in Strabane has ended.
Police say a controlled explosion was carried out in the area. They say the alert is now over and have declared it an elaborate hoax.
Earlier British Army Technical Officers were tasked to the scene at a shop in the Ballycolman/Melvin View area of the town.
The area was cordoned off and a number of homes evacuated.
Strabane Sinn Féin Council Chair Brian Mc Mahon has described the alert as a ‘moronic act’.
“If there ever was a moronic act this was it,” he says.
“The placing of this elaborate hoax resulted in a large number of local residents, many of whom are elderly and infirm, being evacuated, with other residents in the wider cordon area being told by the PSNI to remain at the rear of their homes. There was also wider traffic disruption in the area for with traffic being diverted for over 3 hours.
“The local community is incensed that this has happened especially given that this hoax was left outside a local shop which provides such an invaluable service to the local community.
“I have spoken to the shopkeeper who felt deeply saddened that through all the years he has been in business he has had never had to close because of an incident such as this and given this forced closure not only were local residents, who depend so much on the shop, not able to get to it but a large amount of trade was lost-not least from the hot food bar section.
“The local community is obviously incensed and angered at whoever left this hoax especially given the fact that it was centred on a small local business which serves this community day-in, day-out.”