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Homes evacuated after security alerts

UK News | Published:

Residents have been able to return to their homes in Lurgan and Lisburn after suspicious objects were examined.

Several homes were evacuated in two towns in Northern Ireland in the third and fourth security alerts in less than 24 hours in the region.

Residents were advised to leave a number of properties in separate incidents in Lisburn, Co Antrim and Lurgan, Co Armagh on Wednesday.

On Tuesday night, pipe bombs were left outside homes in Armagh and Rasharkin, Co Armagh.

In Lisburn, what police called a “crude device” was left in the Rathvarna Drive area on Wednesday afternoon.

A Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) spokesman said army bomb experts were sent to the scene.

Residents who were evacuated from their homes were able to return on Wednesday evening.

Democratic Unionist MLA Paul Givan condemned those behind the device.

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“I’ve spoken with the individual targeted by a crude device in Ballymacash Drive and offered my support in the days ahead,” he said.

“Those responsible have nothing to offer society and after meeting people in the community centre it will only strengthen the resolve of the local community.”

A separate security alert close to a school in Lurgan, Co Armagh ended on Wednesday evening after being declared by police to be an elaborate hoax.

Army bomb experts assessed a suspicious object in the Cornakinnegar Road area, before removing it for further examination.

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Chief Inspector Jon Burrows said a large number of residents were evacuated from their homes during the security alert which also affected pupils at two local primary schools.

“The blame for the inconvenience lies squarely with those individuals who left this close to a local school,” he said.

“They have absolutely nothing to offer local people or society in general.”

Meanwhile, late on Tuesday, pipe bomb devices were found in separate incidents in areas of Armagh and Rasharkin, Co Antrim.

Two of the devices exploded during an attack in the Windmill Avenue area of Armagh at 11.30pm.

Three people were in the house at the time. No one was injured, but the front door of the house was damaged.

In Rasharkin, a number of residents of Moneyleck Park were evacuated from their homes at 10pm.

A pipe bomb had been set on the windowsill outside a house and a second bomb was thrown through a front window, police said.

The incident was condemned by local MLAs from the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein.

Democratic Unionist MLA Mervyn Storey said: “This is a very concerning incident and caused disruption to people living in the area. Anyone involved in placing such a device clearly has no regard for life.

“I would appeal for anyone who witnessed anything suspicious in the area to contact the police and assist them in bringing those responsible to justice.”

Sinn Fein MLA Philip McGuigan said those responsible have shown a “complete disregard for the local area”.

“I’m relieved that no-one has been hurt and these lethal weapons have now been taken off the streets,” he said.

“I would urge anyone with information to bring it forward to the PSNI.”

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