Police use specialised equipment to disarm a improvised explosion device at Mullumbimby.
Police use specialised equipment to disarm a improvised explosion device at Mullumbimby. Marc Stapelberg

Bomb in town, university lockdown has police on their toes

LOCKDOWNS and bomb threats sent the Northern Rivers into a tailspin this week, as emergency services worked tirelessly to control the situations.

After a long week of battling bushfires at Drake, Richmond Police District officers received a threatening phone call that sent Southern Cross University into lockdown on Tuesday.

Hundreds of police and tactical team officers descended on the Lismore campus shortly after 1pm after a man had called Casino police station explaining he had firearms and intended on targeting the university.

Staff, students and surrounding schools were placed into immediate lockdown for four hours as police combed the campus for any sign of an intruder.

Despite the uncertainty of whether there was a potential shooter on campus or not, police and SCU staff worked together to ensure everyone's safety.

Richmond Police District Superintendent Toby Lindsay said police have established Strike Force Heninger to track down the person who made the alarming allegations and will continue to have an ongoing police presence on campus.

Meanwhile, Mullumbimby on Thursday was the centre of a bomb threat after a business owner discovered a pipe bomb behind his shop.

The discovery shut down parts of the town, while a bomb technician was brought to Mullumbimby from Sydney to render the explosive device safe.

More than 10 hours after the bomb was found, the device was deemed safe - with police inquiries revealing the device did not have the capacity to detonate. 

Tweed Byron Police District Commander Acting Superintendent Mick Dempsey said officers acted with the community's safety as first priority," he said.  

"We treated yesterday's incident as the real deal, we deployed resources to put the community's safety first. 

"We're grateful the device didn't have the capability to detonate," Acting Supt Dempsey said. 

"I want to reassure the community that there is no ongoing threat. Our detectives will continue to investigate this incident."

Mullumbimby Chamber of Commerce President and Mullumbimby Newsagency owner Janelle Stanford said most businesses had reopened in town following the chaos of the bomb threat.

"The bomb threat didn't rattle me personally because emergency services did all the right thing to make everybody safe, so everyone felt relatively safe," she said.

While there is no suggestion the two matters are linked, police will continue separate investigations.

Police were so tasked to deal with multiple car chases, home invasions, threats made towards officers and crowd controlling yesterday's Climate Change protests.   



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