‘Suspicious objects’ at centre of hoax security alerts across Belfast

Police had to deal with security alerts across Belfast, including at Victoria Parade in the New Lodge area. Credit: Presseye

Four suspicious objects have been found at the centre of security alerts in south and north Belfast that have turned out to be hoaxes.

Police say a number of homes had to be evacuated and motorists were advised to avoid affected areas for much of Thursday.

Officers attended the scenes at Lavinia Square and the Ormeau Road in south Belfast, and Lepper Street and Victoria Parade in the north of the city.

PSNI Chief Inspector Gavin Kirkpatrick said: “ATO attended and declared all of the objects as hoaxes.

“In total, 15 homes were evacuated during the alerts, which caused significant disruption to the residents in the area.

“We thank those directly impacted for their cooperation during this security operation.”

Speaking earlier about the alerts in the Lower Ormeau area, Sinn Féin councillor John Gormley said those responsible had “absolutely nothing to offer our society”.

He added: “This was a senseless act and shows little regard for the community, our key workers, emergency services and health workers.

“It comes at a time when people are already dealing with very stressful situations.”

The Botanic councillor further appealed for anyone with information to contact the PSNI.

The alerts come after police carried our raids on four offices of the republican political party Saoradh across Northern Ireland, as part of an ongoing investigation into the New IRA.