Boy (12) among arrests in Derry after petrol bombs thrown at police

PSNI responds to security alert at primary school being used as polling station

Moss Park in the Galliagh area of Derry. Photograph: Google Street View

Moss Park in the Galliagh area of Derry. Photograph: Google Street View

 

Police have been attacked with petrol bombs during a security alert at a polling station in Derry.

Members of the PSNI were called to a primary school in Moss Park in the Galliagh area of the city – which was being used as a polling station for the European elections — at about 7pm following a report of a suspicious device.

Five petrol bombs were thrown at police. A 12-year-old boy and two male teenagers, both aged 17, have been arrested.

The police also seized six petrol bombs, 20 paint bombs and two crates of empty bottles.

Voting was not affected, and the polling station remained open until its designated closing time of 10pm.

Supt Gordon McCalmont of the PSNI said there was “no doubt my officers were lured into the area this evening and that those involved in this orchestrated disorder had one aim in mind – to attack police.

“This was all the more reckless by the fact that one of the petrol bombs hurled at police landed in close proximity to young children who could have been left seriously injured, or worse.”

“It cannot be lost on anyone the disruption this has caused in the local community, let alone the potential for serious harm that could have been caused,” he added.

Police said later ammunition technical officers had carried out a controlled explosion on the suspicious device, which had been declared an “elaborate hoax” and taken away for forensic examination.

Moss Road was re-opened later on Thursday night, and Supt McCalmont said: “I would like to thank the local community for their patience and understanding during the course of this policing operation.

“The blame for the inconvenience, however, lies squarely with those individuals who left this close to a local school, which was being used as a polling station this evening. Those responsible have absolutely nothing to offer local people or society in general.

“I would like to appeal to anyone who has information about this incident to contact police at Strand Road on 101, quoting reference number 1639 of 23/05/19. Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100 per cent anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”–Additional: PA