Three security operations in Derry over : School to open as normal

Three security alerts in Derry over the past 24 hours have been declared hoaxes by police.

Tuesday, 22nd January 2019, 7:02 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 6:18 pm
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st January 2019. PSNI officers deal with two security alerts in Creggan (Southway and Circular Road, Derry. Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye.

Last night a supermarket delivery van believed to have been hijacked was abandoned outside St Mary’s College on the Northland Road, sparking a major security operation.

Police and the girls’ school have now confirmed that the operation has now ended the school will open as normal today.

In a statement this morning, the school confirmed: “PSNI have confirmed that Northland Road will be clear and St Mary’s College is OPEN today, Tuesday 22 January 2019. Thank you for all the support.”

There was also an attempted hijacking of a bus servicing the Galliagh area at Moss Road last night.

Meanwhile residents evacuated in the Southway and Circular Road areas earlier yesterday have also now been allowed to return to their homes after being evacuated yesterday in separate incidents two hours apart.

In the earlier incident on Circular Road in Creggan an object was thrown into the back of a maintenance van used to carry out repairs on behalf of the Housing Executive.

A controlled explosion was carried out in the built up area.

A red Royal Mail postal van meanwhile was targeted yesterday afternoon and the driver told by an armed gang to abandon the vehicle at Lonemoor Road.

The road was closed and residents at Iona Terrace were evacuated as a result.

The PSNI have now confirmed that all three security alerts in the city have now ended and people have returned to their homes.

District Commander Superintendent Gordon McCalmont said: “We can confirm that all three alerts are hoaxes however we cannot underestimate the impact these incidents have had on our community.

“The occupants of the hijacked vehicles did not believe when they set out for work this morning that they would be threatened by masked men. The residents in Circular Road, Southway and Northland Road did not wake up today expecting to be asked to leave their homes for their own safety. Too many people were affected because of the deliberate and anti-community actions of a few.

“We are grateful to those in the community who worked with us to find temporary shelter for those evacuated and for the patience of the people of this city as we worked as quickly as possible to make sure it was safe for normal life to resume. We share your anger and frustration when incidents like this happen but our overriding priority will always be the safety of everyone in this city.”

There were numerous other reports circulating across Derry overnight of incidents in other areas but police have confirmed many of these were indeed just rumours.