Thursday, February 22, 2007

Tape dispenser closes town

Police have yet to establish how a tape dispenser which caused a security alert in Ballymena , Nothern Ireland, came to be left on a bollard outside a PSNI station.

The tape dispenser, believed to have the abbreviation SOCO written on it, was found at the station on the Galgorm Road at about 1010 GMT. The letters SOCO are most commonly associated with the PSNI's former Scenes Of Crimes Officers who have been re-named Crime Scene Investigators.

The Army carried out a controlled explosion on the object which was declared safe.

Traffic in the town was severely disrupted for several hours while the operation took place. A police spokesperson said: "As with any object that cannot readily be accounted for, we have a duty to be wary in order to ensure the safety of all in the vicinity," they added.

"In this case, the object was outside the perimeter of the station, and away from the entrance - and totally out of place - so we therefore had concerns for the safety of members of the public as well as for police officers and staff. "We are also conscious that terrorists have used items made up to look like police equipment in booby traps."

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