Security alert in Rasharkin ahead of annual band event

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A suspicious object discovered in Rasharkin has sparked a security alert just hours ahead of an annual band contest.

Army technical experts were called to Rasharkin, near Ballymoney, just after 5.30pm to examine a suspicious object.

A spokeswoman for the Police Service of Northern Ireland said the device had been removed for further analysis.

She said: “The security alert in Rasharkin, Co Antrim, has now ended.

“A suspicious device, believed to be a pipe bomb, was removed by Army technical officers for further examination.”

The discovery was made as a result of a proactive police operation.

An area from the rear of Rosetta Terrace to Carnfinton Park close to the village centre was cordoned off but has since reopened.

Police have expressed gratitude to local residents for their co-operation.

A PSNI statement said: “Police would again like to thank local residents for their patience and co-operation.”

The annual demonstration hosted by Ballymaconnelly Sons of Conquerors Flute Band, which is due to start at about 7pm, has been subject to restrictions imposed by the Parades Commission adjudication body including a limit of 25 bands.

Protests by two nationalist residents groups were also ordered to have no more than 50 participants each to be adequately marshalled.

In previous years there has been some trouble in Rasharkin following the annual parade.