Figures released by Northern Ireland's Police Federation show that British Army explosives teams have dealt with more than 750 dissident republican bomb alerts in the past two years.

The Police Federation is the representative body of Northern Ireland's 9,000 full, part-time and reserve police officers.

The figures on dissident republican activities were given by the Federation's chairman, Terry Spence, at the organisation's annual conference this morning.

According to Mr Spence, British Army bomb disposal experts have dealt with over 750 real and hoax bomb alerts since July 2007 – an average of more than 30 a month.

He said that 420 of the alerts had the potential to kill or seriously injure.

The chairman criticised the climate of budget cuts and the decision to sell off 26 PSNI stations to private developers. He said this is happening at a time when Northern Ireland’s political future is uncertain and when the terrorist threat is growing.

In the latest incident, the Fountain Lane area of Antrim town was sealed off and a number of residents moved while a suspicious device was examined.