Residents forced to leave homes in Donacloney alert

Young families and elderly residents were forced out of their homes late on Sunday night following a security alert in Donacloney.

Police confirmed on Monday morning that the searches had come following two arrests in the Newcastle area earlier on Sunday evening.

A number of items of drugs paraphernalia, fireworks and a de-activated firearm were seized during the search.

Army Technical Officers were called to the scene during the police investigation and the street was evacuated and cordoned off as a precaution.

Some residents went to stay with friends and family while others relocated to the church hall at the nearby St Patrick’s Church of Ireland until the search ended at around 3.30am.

Residents were angered at being forced out of their home but were supportive of the police’s actions.

One young mother, who relocated to the hall with her two young children, described what happened.

“We were sitting outside the house when a fleet of unmarked police cars pulled up. The cops jumped out and started beating down the doors of the house,” she said.

“We were told that there was a possibility of being evacuated so I gathered up a few things for the kids. Still, I couldn’t believe it when we were told we had to move.

“I’ve lived in and around this area of Donacloney all of my life but I’ve never known a night like this. Nobody wants this in the village.

“I have to say, though, that the police were brilliant and looked after us really well and I think everyone who was evacuated would like to thank them for everything that they did.”

A PSNI spokesperson said, “Police arrested a 38 year old man on suspicion of criminal damage and a number of drugs offences and a 36 year old woman on suspicion of disorderly behaviour and assault on police following an incident in the Donard Park area of Newcastle last night, Sunday June 2.

“Shortly before 7.30pm, two windows of a car parked in the area were smashed.

“Police also conducted a search of a property in the William Street area of Donacloney.”

At the time of going to press the pair remained in custody while assisting police with their enquiries.