Northern Ireland

Oldpark alert - man detained over hoax bomb call

Security alert in north Belfast
Image caption About 20 families had to leave their homes overnight

The PSNI has said that a security alert in north Belfast was a hoax.

Army technical officers carried out a number of controlled explosions in the Oldpark area.

Twenty families whose houses were evacuated because of the alert are being allowed to return to their homes and roads are being re-opened.

A man in his 30s has been arrested under terrorism legislation and is being questioned at Antrim PSNI station in connection with making a hoax call.

During the alert, which began on on Tuesday evening, 40 premises, including 10 businesses and 20 houses were evacuated.

The search was concentrated on an area at the junction of the Oldpark Road and Rosapenna Street.

Earlier on Wednesday, police confirmed that one telephone call had been made to the Samaritans about the device.

Police said a code word had been given but it was not recognised.

The alert followed reports of a shooting incident in the Oldpark area on Monday night.

A number of shots were heard at Glenview Street off the Oldpark Road.

PSNI superintendent Amanda Cooke said that while she apologised for the inconvenience "police cannot and will not take risks with the lives of people in our community".

"Had there been a device, there could have been devastating consequences had it exploded," she added.

"Once again our community has been disrupted and the lives of residents put at risk by a cowardly element intent on causing as much disruption as they can.

"They have no regard for who may be affected by their actions and as a community we should be looking to blame this disruption on the person or persons who made the call claiming a device had been left in the area.

"The people who carry out these acts are not part of the society within which the majority of people of Northern Ireland wish to live."

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