A senior PSNI officer has appealed for information following a hoax security alert in Rosslea, County Fermanagh, which resulted in a significant public safety operation.
A vigilant member of the public discovered the suspicious device in the rural Clough Road area last night (Monday 23rd March).
ATO attended the scene earlier today and, after examination, declared the object to be hoax.
Fermanagh and Omagh District Commander Superintendent Clive Beatty said: “We believe at this stage that this was the work of dissident republicans. Given the unprecedented challenges the public and police is facing in relation to the Coronavirus pandemic, it is hard to fathom there are individuals in our community who are intent on causing such disruption by exploiting this global emergency for their own ends.
“Dissident republicans are a small minority and we need to stand as a united community, to say loudly that they are a disgrace and a distraction.
“It beggars belief that dissident republicans would want to exploit this situation for their own ends. Their selfish behaviour ended up diverting valuable police resources away from other community priorities for a significant number of hours. This says so much about dissident republicans - that in the face of a national emergency their first thought is to use the opportunity to target emergency services and first responders - the very people who are doing all they can to help communities and take care of the vulnerable.
“I would like to thank the Rosslea community, who were disrupted today, for their patience and co-operation during the security alert.
“The dissident republicans responsible for this senseless act went to great lengths to make this device appear viable and to plant it on Clough Road. They didn’t care about the consequences of their actions and how it would affect others.
“I am appealing to anyone who has any information which can lead us to those responsible, to please call us on 101, or Crimestoppers 0800 55 111.”
The Police Service of Northern Ireland is appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident or anyone with any information that will assist the investigation to contact us on the non-emergency number 101. Information can also be passed anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.