Driver may have travelled 22km with explosive device attached to car

Object found wedged into front grille of vehicle in Lurgan Road area of Co Antrim

Discovery of the viable explosive caused a security alert on Thursday evening. Photograph: Paul McErlane/EPA

Discovery of the viable explosive caused a security alert on Thursday evening. Photograph: Paul McErlane/EPA

 

A driver may have travelled nearly 22km with an explosive device attached to his car, police in Northern Ireland said.

It was found wedged into the front grille of a vehicle in the Lurgan Road area of Crumlin in Co Antrim.

Detectives believe it may have been placed in the car on the Falls Road in west Belfast.

Discovery of the viable explosive caused a security alert on Thursday evening.

PSNI Detective Inspector Stephen Harvey said: “We received a report at approximately 8.05pm that a device was discovered wedged into the front grille of a vehicle parked in the Lurgan Road area, close to the junction of Maple Park in Crumlin. This was a reckless act by the person or persons responsible for placing this device on the vehicle, which travelled close to 22km before it was spotted

“Our officers and ATO [ammunition technical officer] attended the scene, and a public safety operation was implemented. As part of this operation, a number of residents were evacuated from their homes.

“The device was taken away for further examination and I can confirm it contained component parts which, had the device been detonated, would have made it viable.

“We are following a number of lines of enquiry. One is that this device may have been placed on the vehicle on the Falls Road, in the area of the Kennedy Centre, in west Belfast, some time earlier in the day and the vehicle was then driven to the Lurgan Road area where the device was subsequently discovered.

“This was a reckless act by the person or persons responsible for placing this device on the vehicle, which travelled close to 14 miles before it was spotted.

“This incident caused disruption to a number of families who had to leave their homes while we worked to make the area safe, and I want to thank those affected for their patience and co-operation.” – PA