PSNI Craigavon have hit out against dissident republicans after last week’s elaborate hoax bomb security alert during which several homes had to be evacuated.
Officers took to social media urging the public to come forward with any information, labelling the dissidents an ‘embarrassing annoyance’.
They also posted a photograph of the hoax bomb to highlight the disruption it caused.
The post read: “Last weekend massive disruption was caused to North Lurgan with the placing of this hoax device. The reason behind it’s placement is clear.
“Those responsible knew that homes would have to be evacuated, knew that people would have their weekends ruined, knew it would lead to a public park being closed, and knew that we would have to divert already stretched resources from other vital police work to deal with it.
“They almost certainly wanted to see if they could use it to launch a real attack on us too, which thankfully they were unable to do on this occasion.
“The community policing service suffered at the hands of these people last weekend. Calls which had a massively delayed response, statements which couldn’t be taken, victims who couldn’t meet with detectives, burglary patrols cancelled...the list goes on.”
It continued: “VDR (Violent Dissident Republican) sounds like something you’d go to the Doctor for. An embarrassing annoyance, an inconvenient disruption, and the vast majority are sick of it and want it out of society.
“They don’t care about the community, they care about themselves and no one else. “In Belfast they were willing to spray high velocity rounds into a petrol station.
“Here in Lurgan they are happy to have elderly residents evacuated and children’s days in the park ruined.
“Time and time again they are invited to explain why they do what they do, yet only manage to say “freedom”. The only freedom these incidents impact on is the lack of freedom the community get at the hands of those responsible.
“If you saw anyone with this device, or any of its parts in anyone’s possession, call us on 101. If you would rather speak to someone anonymously, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Any information is treated in absolute confidence.
“Don’t let these people operate. Don’t give them freedom to plan these attacks on the community. Call us with their movements. Help us to keep you safe.”