Worker assaulted after refusing to transport package from masked trio in Londonderry

Foyle MLA Colum Eastwood
Foyle MLA Colum Eastwood

A security alert which closed down a main Londonderry road on Friday morning was the result of a hoax proxy bomb attack, police have said.

As reported, the Madams Bank Road in the city was shut between around 6am and 7.30am.

Later in the morning, the PSNI released further details.

They said that just before 6am, a gritting lorry was stopped by three men, and that the driver was told that an object had been placed in the lorry.

He was told to drive it to the Strand Road area, but refused and was attacked.

Instead he drove it lorry to another part of the Madams Bank Road and alerted police.

SDLP Foyle MLA Colum Eastwood said later in the morning that he believed the PSNI station on Strand Road was the target.

He said: “This is the latest in a series of alerts caused by cowards with nothing to offer the people of Derry. These thugs want to drag the city back to a dark place that we’ve moved on from. They won’t succeed.“

Party colleague Brian Tierney, councillor for Shantallow, added: “This is the second attack of this nature to take place in Derry in the last 48 hours.

“It is unacceptable that those providing essential services to local people are being threatened, intimidated and attacked in this way.”

In a statement Inspector Mark Catterson said: “This follows a similar incident that occurred in the Linsfort Drive area on the evening of Wednesday February 25.

“Again, nothing was found in this incident.

“Police are investigating all lines of enquiry into both of these incidents but I would say to anyone who is involved in them that they should bear in mind the disruption that they are causing to the local community.

“Wednesday night’s incident meant that several homes went without electricity while this morning’s incident meant that a gritter was off the road on a morning when it was well needed. It also caused traffic disruption for a short period.”