13 December 2005

Bomb alert at top security prison


A telephone bomb warning was received

A bomb alert at Maghaberry prison near Lisburn in County Antrim is being investigated 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.

An army bomb disposal team is at the prison and sniffer dogs are being used in a search of the compound.

Hundreds of prison staff have been unable to get to work and all morning visits have been 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 is over.

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