Police have said they will offer support to the family of an officer whose relatives were targeted by 'cowardly thugs' who planted a hoax device outside their home.
Residents were this afternoon allowed to return to their homes after a device found under a car outside the family’s home at Drumleck Drive in the Shantallow area of Londonderry was declared an elaborate hoax.
It is understood the same family have been targeted several times.
Army Technical Officers arrived at the scene earlier as residents - some of whom were described as elderly and vulnerable - were evacuated to Shantallow Community Centre.
Speaking about the security alert, PSNI Chief Inspector Alan Hutton said: “It is shameful that this family are being needlessly targeted by cowardly thugs who have no thought for the impact their actions are having on a couple who have lived here all their lives.
“The fact this device was an elaborate hoax does not diminish the fear and disruption it has caused.
“While those responsible think the fact this couple are parents of a serving officer somehow justifies their actions,
“I have no doubt the rest of the community will rally behind this family and show them support and kindness.”
Chief Inspector Hutton said the couple targeted 'have much to be proud of'.
“Just last weekend their son was on duty with colleagues assisting a vulnerable person at the bridge. What were those who made this hoax device doing to serve their community? That’s the challenge that needs to be thrown back at these people,” he said.
“The impact of this incident was much wider than the family of this officer. It affected the neighbours who had to leave their homes because it wasn’t clear at that stage if it was safe to stay. “It disrupted the lives of people trying to get ready for a day’s work or do the school run.
“And what will the headlines reflect about this city on the teatime news and in the papers? It won’t be the positive coverage that is needed to drive investment and tourism and employment.”
He added: “We will continue to offer support to our officer and his family and the investigation into who was responsible for the hoax will continue.
“If you have information then I would ask you to please come forward and tell us. Send a message that these types of actions should be consigned to history and that the community here in the city are committed to looking forward positively and living together peacefully.”