15 April 2005

BBC

Car device was 'crude but viable'


The civic centre was staging a performance of a musical

A bomb left near a crowded civic centre "had the potential to cause serious injury or worse," police in County Antrim have warned.

The "crude but viable" device was left in a car outside Lisburn's Lagan Valley Island Civic Centre.

About 350 cast and audience members at a performance of the musical Carousel by a local theatre group had to leave following an anonymous phoned warning.

Army bomb experts dismantled the device and removed it for further examination.

The alert began at about 2010 BST on Thursday when police were warned that a bomb would explode in 25 minutes.

The area remained cordoned off until 0830 BST on Friday.

Appeal

Police have appealed for anyone who may have witnessed suspicious activity to contact them.

Condemning the attack, Chief Superintendent Ken Henning said it had "the potential to cause serious injury or worse to any member of the public at the centre".

He said the bombers had nothing to offer the people of Lisburn apart from "inconvenience, disruption and the potential to maim and kill".

He added: "It's an absolute disgrace."

One of those moved from the building, Patricia Carleton, said it was "most unfortunate".

"My two grand-daughters are involved in the show," she said.

"They just had to leave all their clothes, as had all the cast."

Roy McIlwrath of Lisnagarvey Operatic Society which was putting on the show, said they were half-way through the performance when the alarm was raised.

"It was a bitterly cold night and the cast, as you would expect, were out in costume, including about 16 young people appearing in the show," he said.

"Some of them were out in their bare feet, with very little on but the costumes they were wearing - it became a priority to look after them."

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