19/03/2010

Derry Alerts Strangle City

Londonderry is facing major disruption today as a series of security alerts are dealt with.

Just hours after the local MP and Stormont Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, arrived home from a high profile US visit over the Saint Patrick's Day holiday, the Real IRA are being blamed for three ongoing security alerts in the walled city.

First a hijacked van was left outside Strand Road Police Station and the roads between Lawrence Hill and Asylum Road were cordoned off by the PSNI.

Then an area around Bishop Street Courthouse was also closed after another hijacked vehicle was abandoned at Bishop's Gate.

As people were been evacuated from both areas, the top deck of the Craigavon Bridge was also closed as Army bomb disposal officers attended.

At least three controlled explosions have since been carried out and the Craigavon Bridge remains closed while a police helicopter (pictured) is monitoring Madam's Bank Road which has also now been closed off.

The Northwest Regional College said their Northland Road and Strand Road sites will be closed on Friday due to the alerts, and students are advised not to arrive for class.

The court service has also said that Bishop Street courthouse will be closed.

Friday's Crown Court jury trial has been adjourned until Monday, and jurors are asked not to attend until then.

Other Crown Court business will be heard in Coleraine on Friday.

Magistrates court business has been moved to Limavady, and family court business has been moved to Magherafelt.

(BMcC/GK)

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