Northern Ireland news

Security alert sparked after discovery of suspicious object in Co Down

Police and ATO at the scene of a security alert in Castlewellan

A SUSPECTED component part of a mortar has been recovered during a security operation in Castlewellan.

The item was discovered on the Priests Road on Wednesday evening by a member of the public.

Detective Inspector Graham Orr from the PSNI’s Terrorism Investigation Unit thanked the community for its cooperation as police worked to make the scene safe.

"A number of cordons which had been in place have now been lifted," he said.

"The component will now be subject to detailed forensic examination however our initial assessment is whilst this was not a viable device, it is clear that this is a component that could have been part of something more sinister.

"We know that the vast majority of people support our police officers and simply want to live in a peaceful society. We will continue to work with communities to disrupt the activities of the small group of people who are intent on using violence."

Ulster Unionist councillor Alan Lewis said praised "the quick and efficient response of local police" who sealed off the area.

"I commend the diligence of the local resident who spotted the device and altered emergency services," he said.

"Those responsible are reckless, mindless idiots with no regard for public safety. In 2019 we should be far beyond such activity where people expect to live in peace without fear of harm.

"Local residents have undoubtedly been inconvenienced and disrupted from their daily routine. The local community should be allowed to go about their lives without the fear or threat of violence."

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