Derry stand-off over as bomb disposal squad moves in

AFTERWARDS. . . .Two ATO lorries make their way up John Street within minutes of the police landrover leaving. DER0415MC016
AFTERWARDS. . . .Two ATO lorries make their way up John Street within minutes of the police landrover leaving. DER0415MC016

A stand off in Derry’s city centre has ended within the last hour.

At around 8.05pm this evening police removed a man in handcuffs from the Meridan apartment complex on John Street.

The man was taken by several police officers and place in a PSNI jeep. The man did not offer any resistance to police officers during his arrest and was dressed only in shorts a T-shirt. As yet he has not been named. However, a police statement confirmed the arrest and said that a man in his 30s had been detained.

A few minutes after his removal two British Army bomb disposal units moved through police cordons and parked opposite the flats. Several Army Technial Officers then entered the complex presumably to examine the flat in which the man had barricaded himself into for several hours.

The alert, which caused severe disruption to traffic for some hours in the area, began today at around 2.30pm. People living in the district were evacuated and temporary accomodation was provided at Brooke Park Leisure Centre and Longtower Youth Club. As yet, there is no indication when people will be allowed ti return to their homes.

Earlier some bystanders said they had been told that the suspect was armed. And a police spokesman confirmed that PSNI officers had conversed with the man in question.

At that point a police statement said: “The situation at the moment has been contained and police do not believe there is any direct threat to other members of the public.”

However, emergency services were heavy on the ground with the Fire and Rescue service, Ambulance crews and police vehicles all in evidence.

Chief Inspector Tony Callaghan, the Foyle Area Commander, said: “This was a fluid and very delicate situation. We had concerns for the man involved and our priority was to take every step possible to ensure that no harm came to the individual, or to anyone else in the proximity.

“I am very pleased that the situation has been resolved without harm to anyone.

“I want to pay tribute to all of the police officers and members of the other emergency services who were involved in the operation. It was not an easy one, but their professionalism and training were key elements in producing the outcome that we saw tonight.

“I also want to thank people in the community, their leaders, the city council and health and social care professionals for the support they have given us.

“I appreciate the patience of all concerned, not least the residents of the area and the general public, and, despite the length of the operation, I hope they understand the police service is focussed on keeping people safe.”