A suspected viable bomb has reportedly been found under a police officer’s car at a Belfast golf club.
An army bomb disposal squad swooped in on the Shandon Park Gold Club in the east of Northern Ireland’s capital to inspect the potential explosive.
After deeming it a ‘viable’ device, they moved to evacuate at least 70 people from the grounds.
The course is close to the headquarters of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and a trawl of CCTV is underway to figure out how the suspect package was planted.
A tournament being held at the Shandon Park Golf Club was cancelled and at least 70 people evacuated
Dissident republicans opposed to the peace process pose a serious threat to the security forces and have used similar methods to attack their members in the past.
Club member Alan Paterson said an individual leaving the course noticed something under the car.
Someone immediately informed police and club members.
He added: ‘Within several minutes the police arrived and identified the object and said that they felt it was viable and that they should immediately evacuate the clubhouse and surrounding area, and also get everybody else off the golf course.
After deeming it a ‘viable’ device, the bomb disposal squad moved to evacuate at least 70 people from the grounds
‘It is very disappointing that things have been disrupted.
‘We are delighted that if it was a viable device the person concerned was not injured or worse, so that is a big plus for everybody.
‘We are a very mixed club. It is east Belfast, yes, but it is a mixed club and this sort of thing should not happen – it just should not happen.’
It is understood the car park area is covered by CCTV and footage will be scrutinised by detectives.
Police and Army bomb disposal experts attended the scene.
The car park was packed with the vehicles of golfers attending a vice-captain’s day tournament.
The device was spotted by someone leaving the club and police were alerted
A robot was used to investigate the suspect device.
Members had planned to watch Saturday evening’s Champions League football final at the clubhouse.
Mr Paterson added: ‘A disappointing day, it was nice to plan but it is not going to happen.’
Democratic Unionist Stormont Assembly member Joanne Bunting said it was a busy club with many golfers and social members on the premises, which is surrounded by residential communities.
‘It would be absolutely reckless for anyone to target such a busy area with an explosive device,’ she added.
‘Whether or not this is a viable device remains to be seen but either way we should recognise the alertness and swift response of all involved.
‘Nevertheless, it will have caused disruption, inconvenience and worry.’