Page last updated at 07:48 GMT, Friday, 16 October 2009 08:48 UK

Alert declared 'elaborate hoax'

Scene of controlled explosion, Clady
Police watch from behind a screen as the controlled explosion is carried out. Pic Lorcan Doherty

Police have said a security alert that closed the village of Clady for more than 24 hours was an "elaborate hoax".

A van was abandoned on a bridge in the County Tyrone village on Wednesday night with its warning lights on.

A controlled explosion was carried out on the van on Thursday after police were told a 600lb bomb was in it.

Inspector Ivan Morton said he believed dissident republicans were responsible, and said the risk to life had been "very, very real".

He also said recent events, such as the 600lb bomb found in County Armagh last month, meant police had to proceed with extreme caution.

"We have to take the threat level into consideration," he said.

"It is the stated aim of these people to kill police officers.

"We would consider all information and events that have happened throughout the province and we base our operation on that."

Two men, aged 34 and 28, have been arrested.

A number of roads leading to the village which were closed in the alert have since reopened.

Day of disruption

Local people said they were angry at the disruption caused by the hoax.

"You couldn't get in and out of the village, and the youngsters couldn't get to school," said resident Patrick Corrigan.

"Clady's very peaceful, and all this has done is torture and annoy people."

Kirk's Bar was one of many businesses that were forced to close.

Owner Seamus Kirk said it was "just a total waste of time".

"It wastes police time, it wastes people's time, and what good does it do?

"I'd like to know what it was all about," he said.

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