Checkpoint rammed during Lislea security alert

August 29, 2016

Police officers manning a checkpoint during a security alert in Lislea on Friday night narrowly escaped injury when a speeding car ploughed into two patrol vehicles.

The vehicle was abandoned at the scene when its driver then jumped a wall and made off on foot through a nearby cemetery.  There were no reported injuries although significant damage was caused to the police cars.

Locals reported seeing a red VW Golf being driven at speed along the Mountain Road before crashing through the police cordon.  The driver immediately fled the scene.

A military helicopter and sniffer dogs were tasked in a follow up search for the suspect.

Confirming the incident, Inspector Philip Quinn said: “Whilst police were in attendance at a security alert in the Hall Road area of south Armagh, a car collided with two police vehicles.  The driver of the vehicle made off from the scene.  There were no reports of any injuries.  Enquiries into this incident are ongoing.”

Meanwhile Army technical officers carried out a controlled explosion on the suspicious device which had initially sparked the alert.

A gas cylinder connected to a commercial battery with lengths of wire cable was discovered at the roadside of Hall Road, on the main Newry to Crossmaglen route.

Members of the public reported the find to police who moved in and sections of the Hall Road, Mountain Road and Crossmaglen Road were closed to traffic.  Residents were advised to remain indoors while the alert was ongoing.

Following a controlled explosion, the device was removed for further examination and the roads re-opened around 2.00am on Saturday.

Sinn Fein councillor Roisin Mulgrew says the incident caused “massive inconvenience” to the public and described those responsible as “reckless cowards with no regard for their community”.

“It is obvious that some thoughtless individual has spent time constructing this device, made primarily from a gas cylinder, to look menacing and cause maximum disruption.

“The result of this incident was that the main road for all those travelling from the Newry direction towards Crossmaglen was closed all evening and throughout the night,” she said.

“While I am relieved that this turned out to be nothing more than a hoax, it is incredibly frustrating to see significant time and resources wasted and a community inconvenienced by this selfish and cowardly act.”