DEVICES WERE ‘VIABLE’

ALL three pipe bomb devices discovered on Sunday in the Bannside area were ‘viable and dangerous’.

‘H’ District Commander, Temporary Chief Superintendent Nigel Goddard also revealed that he believed the three incidents to be linked, given that “all the devices were similar in nature”.

He said the devices, which had since been destroyed, were all pipebombs which had been constructed using fireworks.

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“I would suspect these type of devices were made to cause maximum disruption but not to detonate. They would be of most danger to the people deploying them,” said Mr Goddard.

The District Commander also pointed out at a press briefing on the incidents at Ballymena Police Station that the PSNI received no prior warning and that all three pipe bomb-type devices had been discovered by members of the public.

Army explosives experts were called in on Sunday afternoon after a suspicious object was discovered by a member of the public outside St Paul’s Primary School on the Ballynafie Road in Ahoghill at around 2.30pm.

A similar object was found by a child at a GAA club on the Gortgole Road in Portglenone sparking another alert at around 4pm.

And, on Sunday night, the Crosskeys Road between Ballymena and Ahoghill remained closed until shortly after 11pm because of another alert at a community centre.

The District Commander said that police had “responded appropriately” to each incident.

He would not be drawn on who was behind the attacks, stating that the police investigation “was at an early stage” and that he did not want to speculate.

However, he said he believed all the devices to be from the same source, pointing out: “If you look at the targets, that would be the natural conclusion”.

Mr Goddard added that whoever was responsible “would have nothing to gain from this because there will be very little public support for them”.

He said the trio of weekend incidents was “very disappointing” given that sectarian incidents in the district had decreased in recent times.

The District Commander urged the community to remain viglant, for keyholders to check their premises regularly and he appealed to local people to help the police investigation.

More on page 2.