Peter Bateson

A Sinn Fein party councilor risked his live driving a suspected bomb out of a busy garage forecourt and away from a group of children playing football.

The councilor, Peter Bateson, was informed by a local that they suspected a pipe bomb had been strapped to the windscreen of a work van in Toomebridge, Antrim. The councilor left his home close by and arrived on the scene before the police.

Bateson tried to move people away from the area and keep them a safe distance away. However just meters away from where the van was parked children were playing football at Sean O'Leary's GAA field.

He made the decision to move the van because of the huge danger it presented to the local children and the residents.

He told the Belfast Telegraph "There were a lot of children and other people milling around the area so I decided the best thing I could do was get it out of the area…There is a football field nearby and there was maybe 40 or 50 children playing there.

“People were starting to gather and were curious. The van had been driven from Belfast so I reckoned another 500 yards would not make much of a difference.

“I then drove the van to a bit of waste ground close to a construction site just up the road,”

“It seems that this device was attached in the Markets area rather than at the garage where the local man stopped…At this stage it is difficult to know what was behind it,”