A security alert at Church Road in Castlereagh has now ended.

Detective Sergeant Kitchen said: “Shortly after 7.15am this morning (Tuesday 5th September), it was reported that a suspicious object had been found at playing fields in the area. Officers attended and Church Road was closed to road users as examinations were carried out on the object, which has now been declared an elaborate hoax. The object has been taken away for further forensic examination and Church Road has re-opened.

Detective Sergeant Kitchen continued: “Two nearby schools were closed as a result of the alert which has caused huge disruption for pupils, parents and teachers alike, and I would like to thank all those affected for their patience and co-operation whilst our officers worked to ensure the safety of all.

“An investigation is underway and I would appeal to anyone with any information in relation to this incident to contact police at Strandtown on 101, quoting reference number 236 05/09/23. A report can be submitted online using the non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/ or you can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at http://crimestoppers-uk.org/.”