Northern Ireland

Belfast city centre explosion was aerosol set alight in rucksack

Alert Belfast City Centre
Image caption An explosion was heard in the vicinity of Victoria Square in the city centre

A small explosion in Belfast city centre was caused by an aerosol can set alight inside a rucksack, police have said.

A man, dressed in black, was seen setting an object alight in the Chichester Street/Victoria Street area at about 00:20 BST on Tuesday.

A bang was then heard. The area was cordoned off as police and Army bomb disposal officers inspected the object.

Cordons were lifted and roads reopened shortly after 03:00 BST.

No-one was injured and there was no serious damaged caused to property.

Police have appealed for anyone who noticed a man dressed in black, carrying a rucksack or any other suspicious activity in the area to contact them on the non-emergency number 101.

BBC Northern Ireland reporter Rick Faragher, who lives in the area, said he heard a loud bang just after midnight.

Image caption An Army bomb disposal team was at the scene for several hours

"It was a distinctive sound, not like a car backfiring or anything like that," he said.

"The noise had come from a hundred yards or so down the street I live on, which is Chichester Street.

"I looked out of the window and saw armed police already arriving at the scene and stopping traffic, so I knew it was something serious.

"A police officer told me that something had exploded at the end of Chichester Street, but he wasn't sure what it was exactly."