Derry security alert ends as object is declared a hoax

The scene a the alert
The scene a the alert

A bomb alert at the Buncrana Road has now ended and a suspicious object has been declared a hoax by police following an examination by an army bomb disposal team.

A number of businesses along with St Columb’s College were evacuated around lunchtime today when the alert began after the hijacking of a lorry in the Ederowen Park area of Galliagh.

The lorry driver was ordered to transport a suspected bomb to Strand Road Police Station. Two masked men hijacked the lorry in the Galliagh area and placed the device in the rear of the vehicle before ordering the driver to drive to the PSNI station.

Speaking this evening as the six hour alert ended, Chief Inspector Tony Callaghan, the Foyle Area Commander, condemned those behind the hijacking. He said: “This security alert caused a great deal of inconvenience to the people of Derry, including those who work in businesses close to the scene and also those who travel along Buncrana Road and Springtown Road, both of which are major arterial routes.

“However we must all remember that despite the major inconvenience caused, this was undoubtedly a frightening experience for the lorry driver. Today a man was going about his normal day-to-day work when he was confronted by masked men and ordered to drive with what he was told was a bomb to the police station.

“We have a range of policing operations in place and we will always seek to prevent these types of incidents. It is the people of the city who bear the brunt of the inconvenience and any potential destruction, so we would appeal for everyone’s help in showing the perpetrators that this is not what anyone wants for the city. You can do this by providing information that can help to bring these people to justice.

“Information can be given to us in a variety of ways; by calling the detectives at Strand Road on the 101 number; by calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111; or by liaising through a community or civic representative,” the Foyle Area Commander added.

Commenting on today’s dramatic events, Sinn Fein MLA Raymond McCartney said: “This incident has brought widespread disruption to this area of the city and must be condemned. It was a very frightening experience for the driver of this vehicle, who was confronted by masked men and ordered to drive what he believed to be a bomb through the city. Workers in local businesses and staff at a school who were preparing to send out GSCE results had to be evacuated as a result of this futile action.”

The Foyle MLA added: “Those behind this incident showed no regard for the driver of the vehicle or the people of Derry. They are offering nothing to society and need to stop these actions immediately.”