Security alert which saw town in Northern Ireland evacuated was ‘elaborate hoax’

Security alert which saw town in Northern Ireland evacuated was ‘elaborate hoax’

A SECURITY alert which saw numerous homes evacuated in Co. Antrim this week has been declared an ‘elaborate boax’ by police officers.

The alert at the Glentaisie Park area of Portrush on February 8 followed reports that a suspicious object was found outside a property in the area.

However after officers removed the object, which was sent for forensic examinations, it was confirmed that the entire incident was a hoax.

Confiming that today, the PSNI’s Inspector Burns said: “Shortly before 7.10pm on Wednesday, February 8, it was reported that a suspicious object was located outside a property in the area.

“Officers attended and the object, which was declared as an elaborate hoax, was taken away for further forensic examinations.”

He added: “A number of homes were evacuated during the public safety operation, with residents returning to their homes.

"Police would like to thank the local community for their assistance.”

An officer was assaulted during the policing operation, the PSNI has further confirmed.

“The officer, who was taken to hospital for his injury, was bitten on his left leg,” Insp Burns said.

“A man in his 60s was arrested and remains in police custody at this time,” he added.

The SDLP’s Cara Hunter has called the hoax “disgraceful” and urged those responsible to “get off the backs of the local community”.

The East Derry MLA said: “It’s disgraceful that a number of residents were forced out of their homes on a cold evening as a result of this incident.

“Those behind it need to realise the damage they are causing, end their activities and get off the backs of the local community.”

She added: “People here just want to live in peace and don’t need their lives being disrupted by incidents like this.

“This is the second security alert in the constituency in as many weeks and our communities are understandably sick and tired of having to deal with it.

“My thoughts are also with the police officer who was attacked while responding to the alert in Portrush and required hospital treatment.

“I hope they make a quick recovery from their injuries.

“Nobody should be subjected to this kind of treatment while doing their job and I thank police for their response to this alert.”