Those behind the latest security alert in Derry which saw the Madam’s Bank Road closed for a period on Friday morning have been slammed as ‘mindless cowards’.
Police in Derry said: “At approximately 5.30am, a gritting lorry was stopped by three men in the Alder Road area. The driver was told that an object had been placed in the lorry and that he was to drive it to the Strand Road area. The driver refused to do so and was assaulted by one of the men.
The driver then drove the lorry to part of the Madams Bank Road and reported this to police. The lorry was subsequently examined by police and no object was found.”
Inspector Mark Catterson said: “This follows a similar incident that occurred in the Linsfort Drive area on the evening of Wednesday 25 February. Again, nothing was found in this incident. Police are investigating all lines of enquiry into both of these incidents but I would say to anyone who is involved in them that they should bear in mind the disruption that they are causing to the local community.
“I would ask anyone who knows anything about either of incidents to contact Strand Road Police Station on the non-emergency number 101.
Meanwhile the incident has been condemned by local politicians.
SDLP Foyle MLA Colum Eastwood said: ““This is the latest in a series of alerts caused by cowards with nothing to offer the people of Derry. These thugs want to drag the city back to a dark place that we’ve moved on from. They wont succeed.
Shantallow councillor Brian Tierney added, “This is the second attack of this nature to take place in Derry in the last 48 hours.
“It is unacceptable that those providing essential services to local people are being threatened, intimidated and attacked in this way. These mindless thugs cannot be allowed to get away with this and I would urge anyone with any information to contact the PSNI as soon as possible.
Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan has said those behind the incident are devoid of politics and need to call a halt to their failed campaign.
He said: “The attempt today to hijack a lorry only succeeded in terrorising a man who was out working in order to ensure the safety of his community
“This is in stark contrast to the people who attempted to hijack him who only succeeded in disrupting our community.
“There are still families in Creggan who have no electricity because of another failed attempt by these people to take us backwards and their failure to lift any threats to these workers.
“Are we now going to have a situation where the roads will not be treated because of the actions of these groups? They need to stop their campaign.”