Elaborate Hoax Causes Disruption In Cookstown

A security alert which was later declared an "elaborate hoax" caused significant disruption in Cookstown on Saturday afternoon, 23 February.

The Burn Road was closed between William Street and Park Avenue, with homes and businesses in the area evacuated.

The cordon remained in place until around 4pm, when the suspicious object was declared a hoax.

DUP MLA for mid Ulster Keith Buchanan condemned those responsible for causing chaos on a busy Saturday afternoon in the town, saying they have "no regard for anyone in the local community".

He added: "I would encourage anyone who may have witnessed the individuals responsible for this device to contact the PSNI with any information they have. It is vital that those who try to drag us back to the kind of fear and disruption of the past do not succeed but are brought to justice."
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Ulster Unionist Councillor Trevor Wilson also expressed frustration at the loss of trade caused by the hoax.

The Cookstown representative said the town was brought to a standstill which "destroyed business on the busiest day of the week".

"Not only were business people and shoppers affected, but children attending parties at the cinema had their day ruined. No doubt those responsible view this as a good day's work on their part. In reality such disruption advances no cause a single inch. They need to wise up, get off the backs of the people and get the message that no one wants this anymore.

"Thankfully, due to good work by the PSNI and the Bomb Disposal team, the incident was dealt with professionally and as quickly as was possible. I urge anyone who saw anything suspicious or has any information to contact the PSNI."

Police also appealed for anyone who may know anything to contact them on 101.


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