Abandoned car sparks station security alert

April 6, 2010

By Brónagh Murphy

Dozens of residents were evacuated from their homes in Crossmaglen on Saturday night after a car abandoned at the town’s PSNI station sparked a security alert.

The alert began shortly after 11.00pm when a red Peugeot was driven into the gates of the barracks before the driver made off, leaving the lights on and engine running.

Soon afterwards, residents and businesses close to the base were informed of the security threat and were advised to evacuate their homes and premises.

It was shortly before 6.00am on Sunday before police moved in to seal off the area and the Culloville Road was closed to traffic.

Around 8.00am Army technical officers carried out a controlled explosion on the vehicle and the road remained sealed off for most of the day as a follow-up investigation of the car continued.

Despite a heavy police presence in the town during the annual Easter parade, the alert caused minimal disruption and had little effect on proceedings.

Crossmaglen police station has been attacked a number of times in recent months.  The Real IRA claimed responsibility for a gun attack on the base at the end of December.

SDLP MLA, Dominic Bradley said those behind this incident “have shown utter disregard for the safety of local residents” while his party colleague, Councillor Geraldine Donnelly, called on the culprits to “get off the back of our community.”

“They may want to live in the past but the rest of us want to enjoy our present lives and create a future for our children and grandchildren,” she added.

Sinn Féin Councillor, Terry Hearty, said it was an attack on the whole community and termed those responsible “misguided individuals” whose intention was to ruin Easter commemorations.