Drumahoe alert: Police apologise to school principal

Drumahoe Primary School Image copyright other
Image caption The pipe bombs were found 400 metres from Drumahoe Primary School

Police have apologised to the principal of a County Londonderry school after three pipe bombs were found nearby.

The devices were found on a riverbank in Drumahoe at about 10:30 BST on Wednesday and made safe by Army bomb experts. Police described the pipe bombs as viable devices which were designed to kill or maim.

Drumahoe Primary School is 400 metres away.

Principal Terry McMaster said he should have been informed about the alert.

"I would be expecting either a call from Chief Inspector Alan Hutton this morning to explain why the apparent seriousness of the situation has been played down because a school with 257 children and 30 odd staff being less than 400 metres away, to us they must have made some sort of assessment of risk and we would like to know what that was," he said.

Ch Insp Tony Callaghan apologised to the school and said it had been an oversight on the PSNI's behalf.

"Clearly we take no risks with these sorts of operations and the school was well outside our cordon," he said.


Image caption Police sealed off the area close to where the pipe bombs were found in Drumahoe

"Our cordon was about 100 metres from where the three pipe bombs were found and the school was some 400 metres away, so it was well outside the cordon area, but still in all, we should have made a call to the school yesterday.

"I'd like to apologise to Terry, to his staff and to the students at the school for not making that call."

The senior officer said there had been no risk to pupils or staff. He said the investigation was in the early stages and that it was "too early to apportion responsibility or to say who may have been the target".

Police are still working to establish if the pipe bombs had been abandoned in the area or left to be collected at a later date.