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Security alert at Fermanagh Orange hall was elaborate hoax

The suspicious object had been left at Wattlebridge Orange Hall in Fermanagh
Staff Reporter

A SECURITY alert in Co Fermanagh was the result of an elaborate hoax, police have said.

It started when a suspicious object was spotted at the front door of an Orange hall on the Wattlebridge Road near Newtownbutler on Friday afternoon.

British Army bomb experts examined the object was was then declared an "elaborate hoax" on Saturday.

PSNI chief superintendent Pauline Shields thanked local people and road users for their patience and cooperation through the duration of the alert.

Fermanagh County Grand Master Stuart Brooker said lodge members felt "extremely hurt to be targeted in such a malicious fashion".

"Regrettably, it would seem there remains a minority intent on causing disturbance and division," he said.

He added:  “The Orange hall is relatively isolated and so therefore is deemed an easy target for such criminality.

"Those who skulk in the darkness and engage in such underhand activity fail to understand that the property is a vital social facility in the border area, and is utilised by a number of groups.

“The lodge membership reside on both sides of the border and are fully integrated in the local community.

"The vast majority of whom would quite rightly condemn such reckless behaviour in their locality and any attempt to damage community relations.

“Despite this incident, the Orange Institution in Co Fermanagh remains committed to playing a constructive role to ensure a truly shared future prevails for all traditions.”

Mr Brooker praised the actions of the police and security services for dealing with the alert.

The senior Orangeman also called on anyone who witnessed any suspicious activity in the Wattlebridge Road area to contact police immediately.

There have been a total of seven reported attacks on Orange property so far this year in Northern Ireland.

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