Mechanical fault caused car fire which sparked security alert, say police

A car fire which sparked a security alert in Northern Ireland was the result of a mechanical fault, police have confirmed.

Army bomb disposal experts were called to examine the vehicle on the A2 between Belfast and Bangor amid claims from some public representatives it may have been a bomb.

In a statement, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said: "Police can confirm that a mechanical fault is believed to be the cause of a car fire on A2 between Belfast and Bangor."

The female driver of the car escaped injury in the incident, which happened at about 8.30am.

Army technical officers spent several hours at the scene with a low-key police presence at the security cordon.

They left the area shortly after 1pm and the road was expected to re-open.

Police sources had earlier confirmed the woman was not a serving police officer.

A number of elected representatives, including DUP MP Ian Paisley Jnr, publicly condemned what they believed was a terror-related incident.

Mr Paisley had to update a Twitter post in which he said it was understood a police officer had been targeted by a "suspected under car booby trap device".

He later tweeted: "Reports suggest this was a major malfunction of the vehicle and not terrorist related. If so that's a huge relief and I hope those involved are uninjured."

DUP leader Arlene Foster also condemned the reported attack during a press conference in Brussels, saying her thoughts were with those affected.

Meanwhile, Ulster Unionist MLA in North Down and the party's policing spokesman, Alan Chambers, released a statement condemning the incident and claiming a device had partially exploded.