‘Morons’ were responsible for bomb alert

Army bomb disposal officers carried out a controlled explosion
Army bomb disposal officers carried out a controlled explosion

The police response to a hoax bomb alert which caused almost two days of road and rail disruption has been criticised.

There were widespread complaints from residents who condemned police for not responding to the alert earlier.

Sinn Féin has criticised the PSNI’s response. Cllr Noel McGeown said: “I understand they have to be cautious in their response but the fact that there was no presence on the ground as of 11 on Wednesday night - if it was a viable device I would have grave concerns about the safety to the public in the area.”

Train services were suspended and the Antrim Road was closed while police investigated the security alert. The PSNI said nothing was found.

Mayor of Craigavon Colin McCusker said “morons” were responsible for the alert.

Colin McCusker said: “When I was first made aware of this security alert at the railway line in Lurgan on Wednesday evening, I had hoped it would have only lasted a few hours,” he said.

“As the Mayor my initial reaction was one of shame and embarrassment, as once again, the actions of a handful of people who can only be described as ‘morons’ have succeeded in disrupting the lives of ordinary people.”

The alert was also condemned by Deputy Mayor Catherine Seeley.

Chief Inspector Paul Reid said: “My officers have conducted a thorough search of the railway line and have found nothing of a suspicious nature. I understand the extent of disruption this alert has caused to both the local residents and to train passengers, and I can assure all those affected that the operation was carried out with utmost professionalism in order to ensure the safety of all.

“I would like to extend my gratitude to the local residents in Lurgan for their patience and support to officers, which assisted in bringing the operation to a swift conclusion.”

It’s understood the alert was sparked after two masked youths entered a signal box and told the woman operating it there was a bomb on the line. Army Technical Officers arrived on Thursday morning.