Belfast alert an ‘elaborate hoax’

Published Monday, 01 September 2014
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Police have said a suspicious object, which sparked a security alert in Belfast and closed the Westlink causing long delays, was an “elaborate hoax”.

Belfast alert an ‘elaborate hoax’
Police closed the main arterial route for a number of hours. (© Presseye)

A suspicious object was discovered in the Cullingtree Road area on Monday morning.

The army bomb squad was tasked to the scene and a number of homes evacuated to allow for examinations.

The alert caused delays in the area and the Roads Service warned of continued delays as roads returned to normal.

Chief Inspector Anthony McNally, area commander for west Belfast, said: "Our response to today's security alert consisted of partnership working on a number of fronts.

"Firstly, a major incident traffic plan was put into operation to work with colleagues in the Department of Regional Development, Roads Service, to help keep traffic disruption to a minimum.

"Secondly, our partnership working with the local community led to the opening of the Divis Community Centre which was made available to a number of residents in the local area who had to be evacuated from their homes during the alert.

"I would therefore like to thank both local residents and the community centre for their assistance, patience and understanding during this time. I also want to reassure the wider community that we remain focused on keeping people safe."

He added: "I would appeal to anyone who was in the area of Cullingtree Road this morning and saw any unusual activity to contact local police by phoning the non-emergency number, 101."

Residents affected by the disruption were moved to the Divis Community Centre.

MLA Fra McCann condemned the alert and called for those behind it to stop.

He said: "Those responsible for this type of disruption have nothing to offer the local community.

"I and others are working on a daily basis to tackle decades of deprivation and underfunding in west Belfast.

"Actions like these do not improve the situation in any way and only add to the problems.

"This needs to stop. It achieves nothing except adding to the difficulties of the local community," the Sinn Féin representative said.

West Belfast councillor Tim Attwood said the alert caused "massive disruption" and also condemned those responsible for it.

The SDLP man added: "There is simply no place for this type of disruption. Society has moved on and nobody wants this madness in their community.

"People are fed up with this type of disruption and just want to get on with their lives in peace."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Jay in 926 wrote (152 days ago):
@Matt in Belfast. I know mate who do the police think they are, taking bomb threats in Belfast seriously?
john in west belfast wrote (152 days ago):
I think anto is spot on, This is black ops from MI5 TO GET THE COMMUNITY TO TURN ON THE REPUBLICANS WHO OPPOSE THE GFA.
Anto in Belfast wrote (153 days ago):
I think there was another motive behind todays road closures, if there was supposed to be a "suspicious object" found in the middle of the Divis area then why was nearly 2miles of motorway sealed off in both directions yet people living in the street of this suposed object remained in thier homes?? Seems like there is another hand at play, a hand that is known in the past to have thought up and created such "scares" to be used as a PR tactic, this hand being of British intelligence services.
mark in North belfast wrote (153 days ago):
What was it this time an old biscuit tin discarded by a contractor? Was there really all this need? Again I think it's a total overreaction by the psni.full scale security operation over nothing.
T. in down wrote (153 days ago):
Thats a few in the last week or 2 , kids are back to school, thats who is behind it!!!!!!!!! THE KIDS.
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