Actions of those who sent letter bomb to PSNI chief ‘senseless’

Police Service of Northern Ireland Chief Constable Matt Baggott
Police Service of Northern Ireland Chief Constable Matt Baggott

An attempted letter bomb attack on Northern Ireland’s Chief Constable has been described as senseless.

Police said the package, which contained a viable explosive device, was intercepted at a Royal Mail sorting office overnight.

Justice Minister David Ford said: “Those who sent this device have no concern whatsoever for the staff at the Mallusk sorting office, whose vigilance is to be commended.”

The mail centre at Mallusk in Co Antrim was evacuated while Army bomb experts worked for several hours to make the device safe.

The parcel was addressed to Matt Baggott at the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s (PSNI) headquarters in Knock on the outskirts of east Belfast.

It is the third attempted bomb attack on police in as many days.

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers said those responsible had shown a callous disregard for life.

“Those responsible for this device have almost no support and have demonstrated a blatant disregard for the safety of those who could have been injured by this callous and reckless attack,” said Ms Villiers.

“The Chief Constable undertakes a challenging role in delivering community policing in a difficult threat environment.

“He and his officers have my full support and I am certain that the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland will condemn this disgraceful bomb attempt and others which have taken place over recent days.”

Earlier this week, police officers in Londonderry and Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, escaped injury when pipe bombs were thrown at their patrol cars.

A PSNI spokesman said: “Police would continue to ask members of the public to remain vigilant and anyone who notices anything suspicious should contact the police immediately.”

Meanwhile, Royal Mail warned that deliveries would be disrupted as a result of the alert.

Spokeswoman Barbara Roulston said: “The Northern Ireland Mail Centre at Mallusk was evacuated overnight due to a suspect package. There will be a knock-on effect on deliveries this morning and we apologise to customers for the inconvenience this may cause.”