Homes evacuated overnight in hoax alert

Published Wednesday, 12 March 2014
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A security alert forced families out of their homes overnight in Newcastle, Co Down.

Homes evacuated overnight in hoax alert
An object that prompted the operation was found to be a hoax. (© UTV)

A suspicious object in the Burren Meadow Estate was examined by army bomb experts at around 12.40am on Wednesday and was later declared an elaborate hoax.

A number of residents took shelter in a local leisure centre for the night.

Sinn Féin Councillor for Newcastle, Willie Clarke said the disruption was an "absolute disgrace".

"I want to thank the council staff who quickly made the centre available in the early hours of the morning and who looked after some 57 residents including children and babies, until they could return to their homes this morning," he said.

He added: "This is the second time in a week that a security alert has caused disruption in the area, with a weapon being discovered just five minutes away from where the security alert took place last night."

An operation was launched when patrol officers found a shotgun wrapped in a black bin bag in a hedgerow in the Dundrinne Road area of Castlewellan on Friday.

© UTV News
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