The PSNI say an explosion heard in south Belfast last night was a pipe bomb type device which had partially exploded.

The pipe bomb was discovered in the Melrose Street area off the Lisburn Road.

The device was taken away by British Army bomb officers for further forensic examination.

A number of houses in the Melrose Street area were evacuated for a time while the device was dealt with. PSNI Chief Inspector Mark McEwan said it was only by good fortune that members of the public were not killed or injured by the blast.

He said whoever left the device had shown a complete disregard for the safety of the local community.