The alert – which has since been declared a hoax – led to local residents having to evacuate their homes, taking refuge in the Newcastle Centre.
Councillor Patrick Clarke said: “I want to condemn those behind this incident – who are not acting on behalf of the local community.
“I want to commend all the security services and Council staff and officers – implementing Down District Council’s emergency plan – who acted quickly and ensured the necessary evacuation was carried out rapidly and as easily as possible.
“Those behind this suspicious object have no respect or concern for the health and wellbeing of local residents – some with very young families – who were disrupted by this incident.
“I would urge anyone with information or witnessed any suspicious activity in the Burren Meadow area in the early hours of Wednesday morning to contact the PSNI on 0845 600 8000.”