A security alert was sparked earlier this morning when a suspect object was found outside a home in Ballymoney.
The object was placed outside a home in the Raceview Drive area of the town and a number people were evacuated from their homes for their own safety. The local Joey Dunlop Leasure Centre opened its door to accommodate those affected.
Nearby there are two schools, a Primary & Secondary, but pupils were not affected by the security alert.
The primary schools advised parents that the school;
“Had been told PSNI are investigating a suspicious device. They advise we do not need to evacuate and will inform us if this advice changes.”
Police quickly closed several roads end into the estate and placed police cordons up while Army Technical Officers (ATO) arrived on scene to inspect the suspicious object.
The ATO deployed their robot, and an initial controlled explosion was carried out on the object.
Following a closer inspection of the object a second and third controlled explosion was carried out to make the object safe.
HOWEVER the object has now been declared as an ‘elaborate hoax’ affecting many residents in the local area.
Speaking to local Councillor for the area, Cllr Alan McLean stated
“A suspect device was found this morning at Raceview Drive in Ballymoney. A number of residents have had to be moved from their homes causing great inconvenience and distress. Army bomb disposal team have carried out a couple of controlled explosions. Thankfully the two nearby schools were able to carry on about their business and the children have not noticed to much disruption.
“We have to move way from this kind of behaviour as it is not wanted by any of the people of Ballymoney. I would urge anyone with any information to report it directly to the PSNI.”
Chief Inspector Ian Magee said:
“In order to ensure the safety of local residents, people from around 50 houses were evacuated earlier. They are now returning to their homes.
“Local people, including children trying to make their way home from school, have been greatly inconvenienced. And I’d like to thank all of those people for their patience and cooperation.
“I’m also appealing to anyone with information about this incident, to get in touch on 101, quoting reference number 365 of 13/09/19.
“Alternatively, information can be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime