Spate of hoax bomb alerts caused ‘chaos’ in town centre

Several hoax bomb alerts caused considerable disruption in and around Portadown town centre earlier today.

Friday, 1st March 2019, 9:28 pm
Updated Friday, 1st March 2019, 9:50 pm
Portadown town centre. Pic by Google

Upper Bann DUP MLA Jonathan Buckley said police were tasked to deal with “more than half a dozen” elaborate hoax alerts.

Mr Buckley, who has requested a meeting with senior police officers in Portadown to discuss the incidents, commented: “The people behind these bomb scares are reckless and are only serving to disrupt the lives of everyone in Portadown.

“Bomb scares cost money in terms of police time but also in terms of the economy for traders. It causes chaos in the town.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Jonathan Buckely MLA. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

“There are clearly people in our society who want to drag us back to the days of bombs and bullets. The majority of people want to move forward.”

He added: “I hope there will be cross-party condemnation of this activity and fulsome support for our local police. Those who continue to glorify the terrorists who bombed Portadown in the past send a confusing message to the next generation. Terrorism was wrong in the 1970s and its wrong today.”

Local councillor Darryn Causby said there were “somewhere between six and 10” hoax reports that bombs had been left at locations in the town centre.

“The traffic chaos was horrendous all afternoon and I know police were still working this evening to make sure everything was clear. They were being very thorough,” he said.

The DUP man said there was “a lot of disruption” in and around the town centre and he praised local people for their patience during the security operation.

Police said they carried out searches at a number of business premises in the town centre after telephone warnings were received claiming that bombs had been left at various locations.

They said nothing was found and the incidents are being treated as hoaxes.

It is understood police inquiries into the incidents are ongoing and investigating officers have appealed for anyone with information to come forward.