Northern Ireland news

Police said viable devices discovered in north Belfast had been 'crudely hidden'

The suspicious devices are understood to have been found by contractors working in the New Lodge area. Picture by Mal McCann

POLICE last night said "viable devices" discovered near a school and community centre in north Belfast had been "crudely hidden".

Two suspected pipe bombs are understood to have been found by workmen in the New Lodge area yesterday.

Police were called to the scene in Churchill Street at around 1pm and residents were evacuated from the area while surrounding streets were cordoned off.

A community centre in North Queen Street was opened for evacuated residents

The PSNI later said the devices were "viable" and could have killed or seriously injured passers-by.

Detective Sergeant Keith Wilson said: "ATO carried out controlled explosions on both and they have been declared as viable devices.

"These devices could have killed or seriously injured members of the public walking past the place where they had been crudely hidden.

"Such a reckless act should have no place in our society and I would appeal to anyone who noticed any suspicious activity in the area in recent days, or anyone who has any information that could help with our investigation to contact detectives."

Sinn Féin councillor JJ Magee said he was relieved no-one was hurt.

"The discovery of these devices has caused serious disruption in the area which has now been sealed off by police with residents and workers evacuated," he said.

"These devices could have endangered residents in the area or the workmen who discovered them.

"I would appeal to anyone with information to contact the police."

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