Image issued by the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Child's bike used to hide a bomb.

A booby-trap was discovered hidden in a child’s bicycle in Northern Ireland last month according to police, who said it was placed there by IRA dissidents.

Detective Chief Inspector Justyn Galloway said,  “A trap was put in place to kill police officers which could easily have murdered members of the public.”

The secondary device was attached to a bike and then placed outside a scout hall in a residential area of north Belfast. Another device was also discovered close to an Xtra-vision video store on the Antrim Road, after police responded to a report that someone had vandalized the window of the shop.

A police spokesman said, “In a follow-up search another device was found. This one was a booby trap device attached to a child’s bicycle and placed beside a scout hut.”

Two men aged 33 and 24 have been arrested in connection with the Antrim Road alert, which occurred in January.

Police are looking for the man who threw a rock through the window of the Xtra-vision store, as they believe he did so in order to lure officers to the area.

"Detectives from Serious Crime Branch are following one line of enquiry that the incident of criminal damage at Xtra-Vision and the bomb alert may be connected," the spokesman added.

"We are releasing footage of the man who was seen in the vicinity of the Xtra-Vision store.

"This man may have information which is vital to the investigation. Do you know who he is? If so please contact police.

"We are also releasing a photograph of the child's bicycle which was used to disguise the booby-trap device.

"The bicycle is quite distinctive, and our second appeal is to anyone whose child has owned such a bike and lost it or had it stolen, or anyone who has sold a bicycle similar to this privately," he said.

Around 50 families were evacuated from their homes when police officers searched the area for the device.