Warning after cleaner handled suspect device

Police have warned the public not to attempt to deal with hoax bombs themselves after a cleaner picked up a suspect device at a city centre premises, reports Leona O’Neill.

The cleaner discovered a large brick wrapped in an onion bag and hidden in a lavatory cubicle on Saturday, the day after a vast section of Strand Road was cordoned off during a bomb alert.

She carried the bag out of the toilets and showed it to other staff members before the manager called the police.

“We are fed up with the bomb alerts,” said the manager, who wished to remain nameless. “There are people here crying out for work. They don’t get paid if they don’t do their shifts. Had we left it where it was the entire place would have been cordoned off for another day. Other alerts saw entire staff sent home, mountains of fresh food was thrown out. It is money down the drain. We saw that it was just a brick but it could very well have been something more sinister. It’s just stupid, why do people do this?”

The PSNI, who were called to the premises and took the item away for testing, have warned the public that if they see anything suspicious it should be reported to the police.

“If you find a suspicious object, don’t touch it and certainly don’t move it. The safety of everyone must be the first consideration and police officers are the best placed to assess the risks and to decide on the best possible action. We have been fortunate so far that no-one has been injured by any of these devices, but the risk posed by them is not something that should be taken lightly. We would urge local residents and their representatives not to jeopardise their own safety but to leave the clearance process to the experts. Anyone who noticed any unusual activity in the area or who has any information is asked to contact police on 0845 600 8000.”