13 December 2005

Alert ends at top security prison

BBC NEWS

A bomb alert at Maghaberry prison near Lisburn in County Antrim has ended after a search by the security forces.

A telephone warning of a device in a bag of grit inside the high security prison was made to a Belfast newsroom about 0700 GMT on Tuesday.

A search by an army bomb disposal team and prison officers using sniffer dogs found nothing.

Hundreds of prison staff were unable to get to work and all morning visits to the jail were cancelled.

The Prison Service said a decision had not yet been taken about afternoon visits and a further update would be provided later on Tuesday.

A spokesman said all visits to the jail had been cancelled for the morning and no inmates were being bussed out for court appearances.

"The prisoners are being kept locked in their cells and they have not had their breakfast," he said.

The prison staff night shift was still on duty - the day shift unable to get into the jail until the alert was over.

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