It was a return to the bad old days last Thursday night in Lurgan as Army Technical Officers were called to deal with a suspicious object left outside premises on Union Street.
The Spice House was at the centre of the alert following the discovery of the object shortly before 10,30am.
Union Street was sealed off during the alert which ended around 1.25am following a controlled explosion which left damage to a window at the restaurant.
Residents in the area reported seeing the police cordon go up at 10.30pm but say they were left in the dark as to what was going on.
Indeed some were critical of the fact they received no warning a controlled explosion was to be carried out, while they were left virtual prisoners in their own homes, while others were either put out of their homes or couldn’t return due to the cordon line.
DUP MP David Simpson said: “This ordeal in Union Street is cause for concern. Residents living in the area were alarmed with some having been evacuated and others house bound.
“There is also a business having to deal with the aftermath of the controlled explosion and the damage it has caused to their premises.
“We also had a large police presence which obviously is an additional strain on resources which are already stretched owing to budgetary constraints. The individuals who carried this out are backward thinking, intransigent people who have no care for the wellbeing of people living in the area.
“The device was a hoax and I would commend the PSNI for their actions. I would also encourage any one with any information to come forward to the PSNI and report it.”
Describing the actions of those who left the hoax device as ‘wreckless’ Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson said: “This is exactly what we do not want to see in Lurgan. Those who left this device, causing the disruption and fear which followed, have no support in the town.
“I know from speaking to some of those affected that the resulting security alert and controlled explosion, while entirely necessary, caused considerable disruption in the town. It is my hope that this is an isolated incident and that people will be allowed to live and work free from the fear of a similar incident in the future.”
Local Councillor Carla Lockhart said: “This is a worrying turn of events. I was liaising with the PSNI throughout the ordeal and with local residents and there was a real fear amongst people. I would encourage anyone with any information to come forward to the PSNI and report it.”