Security alert that sparked 'shameful' disorder in Derry is declared a hoax

Security alert that sparked 'shameful' disorder in Derry is declared a hoax

A SECURITY alert that sparked hours of disorder in Derry on Tuesday evening has been declared an elaborate hoax.

The disorder developed following the discovery of a suspicious device at around 7.45pm in Southway in the Creggan area.

Police said children as young as six were involved in the 'shameful' scenes, which saw officers pelted with petrol bombs, fireworks and masonry.

"The disorder that developed was utterly senseless," said Chief Superintendent Gillian Kearney.


The incident unfolded after police had been in the area on Tuesday afternoon dealing with a sudden death in Magowan Park.

As officers were conducting enquiries in relation to the matter, they discovered the suspicious device and a public safety operation was implemented with cordons put in place.

However, up until around midnight, there was disorder with paint and petrol bombs, heavy masonry and fireworks being thrown at police.

Those involved in the disorder, some of whom were children, dispersed at around midnight.

Damage was caused to police vehicles but no injuries to police officers were reported.

Following an examination of the device by Ammunition Technical Officers, the alert was described as an elaborate hoax.

A 36-year-old man arrested last night on suspicion of riotous behaviour and remains in custody at this time.


Ch Supt Kearney described the reported involvement of young children in the disorder as 'criminal exploitation'.

"That disorder occurred as officers were dealing with such a sensitive incident is shameful," she said.

"It also serves to damage local communities and divert our resources away from dealing with the things that matter most.

"There are reports of children as young as six and seven years old being involved. This is child criminal exploitation.

"We know from the work our officers do on a daily basis, what happened last night will have provoked anger in the local community and wider area."

She added: "I want to reassure the community my officers will be out today working to remove drugs from the streets, responding to domestic abuse calls and protecting communities from those who seek to cause harm to the most vulnerable.

"I want to commend the officers involved last night."