Derry bomb alert ‘elaborate hoax’

Police and army bomb squad officers examining a suspicious object which was left opposite Bishop Street courthouse in Londonderry have declared the alert an “elaborate hoax”.

Allarme al tribunale di Derry | Derry alertThe device, which was a fire extinguisher with a battery attached to it, was discovered on Friday morning by a passer-by, who alerted the emergency services.

A controlled explosion was carried out on Friday afternoon.

Superintendent Sam Donaldson apologised for the disruption caused during the alert.

“I and my colleagues recognise the stress and inconvenience caused to people of the city going about their normal routine and I apologise for the continued disruption.

“We must recognise that the real responsibility for the disruption to all our lives today should be place firmly at the door of those who left the device,” he said.

The alert is now over and Bishop Street has re-opened to traffic.

Derry Mayor Colum Eastwood has condemned the incident as “totally and utterly indefensible”.

He added: “The people of this area have had to put up with too much already this week and for this to happen a second time is inexcusable.

“Old people and children are being disrupted and business people trying to provide a service to the community are being disrupted.

“Those responsible have simply nothing positive to offer but disruption. Their actions aren’t freeing Ireland, but causing obstacles.”

The alert comes after 110lb of homemade explosives were left in a stolen car outside the courthouse on Sunday night.

A senior PSNI officer said the bomb could have “killed and injured” and that there was no doubt the courthouse was the intended target.

On that occasion, elderly residents from a nearby home were evacuated on Sunday night and were not allowed to return until Monday afternoon.