There has been cross-party condemnation following the discovery of a viable device outside a property in the Mayfield Village area of Newtownabbey.
The suspicious object was discovered in the back garden of a house at approximately 9.15pm on Saturday, December 14.
ATO attended the scene and declared the object a viable device.
A number of residents were evacuated from their homes and returned when the security alert ended.
The device has been taken away for further forensic examination.
Detective Sergeant Coulter said: “I want to thank the public for their patience as we conducted our enquiries and worked to make the scene safe.
“I appreciate the disruption this has caused, however, when it comes to keeping people safe we do not take chances.
“I would appeal to anyone who noticed any suspicious activity in the Mayfield Village area on Saturday night, or anyone who has information that could assist us with our enquiries, to contact detectives at Newtownabbey on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 1869 14/12/19.
“Alternatively, information can also be given anonymously through the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
DUP MP for South Antrim Paul Girvan and MLA Pam Cameron have condemned those responsible for leaving the viable device.
Paul Girvan MP said: “This is a worrying find and the local community are undoubtedly shocked at this discovery. I want to commend those who attended the scene and made this device safe. Those who engage in this activity have no regard for residents and their safety. It is utterly irresponsible and dangerous.”
Pam Cameron MLA added: “I would encourage anyone with information about this incident to bring it to the PSNI at the earliest possible opportunity. We all have a responsibility to the local community and our neighbours to ensure we are safe and to root out those responsible from our society.”
In a statement issued to the Times. Glengormley Alliance representative, Ald Julian McGrath, praised the emergency services for their quick response. He said: “I’m both shocked and saddened to learn of this, this morning (Sunday). For a viable device to be found in a housing development is extremely worrying. This could have led to serious injury, or worse, to either the homeowner or neighbouring families.
“Many thanks to PSNI and other agencies for their quick response in providing shelter for the 26 evacuated families.
“I would appeal to anyone who saw anything or who have information to contact the PSNI on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800555111.”
Branding the incident “sinister”, Glengormley SDLP representative, Cllr Noreen McClelland said: “This is sinister and has caused disruption to families who have had to leave their homes during the night, waking young children from their sleep, causing distress, fear and concern.
“Those responsible have absolutely no care for the safety of families living in the area. Such reckless and sinister behaviour is to be totally condemned. When are those responsible for such terrible acts going to learn they are totally rejected by the community?
“I would like to commend the security services for acting so quickly and council staff for making Lilian Bland Pavilion available for the families disrupted. I would ask anyone with any information to please contact the Police Service.”
Urging anyone with information to contact the police, South Antrim Sinn Fein MLA Declan Kearney said: “This was a criminal attack on a quiet neighbourhood at a time when families would have been settled for the night.
“It was especially disrupting for those families forced to flee their homes in freezing temperatures to make their way to a place of safety.
“I want to thank the PSNI for ensuring the safety of local residents, and commend Antrim and Newtownabbey Council’s emergency support team for its quick response, and arranging for the opening of the Lillian Bland Pavilion to accommodate those evacuated.
“I would urge the public to assist the ongoing police investigation by providing any information which may help bring the people responsible for this criminality before the courts.”