Belfast alert an ‘elaborate hoax’

Belfast alert an ‘elaborate hoax’

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

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."Belfast: A12 Westlink reopened following a security alert - Knock on delays remain in city centre but should now begin to ease.— Trafficwatch NI (@TrafficwatchNI) September 1, 2014Residents 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."

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