Explosive device discovered on residential road in Newry

Army bomb experts carried out a controlled explosion at the scene as 15 families forced to evacuate

The device was  viable, said Superintendent Norman Haslett, PSNI district commander for Newry, Mourne and Down.

The device was viable, said Superintendent Norman Haslett, PSNI district commander for Newry, Mourne and Down.

 

An explosive device discovered on a residential road in Newry, Co Down could easily have been picked up by passing children and detonated, police have said.

Fifteen families in the Ashgrove Road area were forced to flee their homes and seek shelter elsewhere, including at a local leisure centre, after the device was found at around 3:30pm on Saturday.

Army bomb experts carried out a controlled explosion at the scene.

“At this time, it is believed to have been a viable device,” said Superintendent Norman Haslett, PSNI district commander for Newry, Mourne and Down.

Supt Haslett said police were working to establish who is responsible for what he described as a “reckless act”.

“This device could easily have detonated, or have been picked up by anyone, including children,” he said.

“Someone could have suffered serious injury.

“As we continue with our investigation, I want to thank everyone inconvenienced by the alert. In particular, I want to thank the 15 families who had to leave their homes as we worked to make the scene safe.”

Most of the families had returned to their homes by Sunday and roads closed for the security operation were reopened.

Supt Haslett appealed for witnesses or anyone with information to get in touch.

Newry and Armagh Sinn Féin MLA Liz Kimmins condemned those responsible for the explosive device.

“Those responsible for this suspicious object which led to a security alert in Ashgrove Road in Newry have nothing to offer the community,” she said.

“Families had to be evacuated from their homes in what must have been a frightening and traumatic experience.

“This is an attack on the entire community at a time when we should all be working together in the face of the public health crisis caused by Covid-19.

“Those responsible need to end these futile actions immediately.”