Suspected explosive devices ‘are linked to Northern Irish terrorism,’ says No10
- One of the suspect packages had a Republic of Ireland postmark on it
- They were discovered at Army careers offices in Oxford, Brighton, Canterbury and Queensmere shopping centre in Slough today
- One package was found in Aldershot, Hampshire, yesterday
- Two packets were found on Tuesday at the armed forces careers office in Reading and the Army and RAF careers office in Chatham, Kent
- Devices are ‘basic but viable’ and considered as a ‘low-level threat’
Suspected explosive devices sent to Army recruitment offices in southern England bear ‘hallmarks of Northern Ireland-related terrorism’, Number 10 has said.
And one of the packages has been discovered to have had a Republic of Ireland postmark on it, it has been claimed.
Four suspicious packages were discovered in offices in Oxford, Brighton, Canterbury and the Queensmere shopping centre in Slough today, counter-terrorism police officers said.
Four suspect packages have been delivered to Army careers offices in the south-east of England, including one in Brighton
Specialist officers and equipment were called in to the scene after the ‘crude’ threat was sent
One package was found in Aldershot, Hampshire, yesterday, while two packets were found on Tuesday at the armed forces careers office in Reading, Berkshire, and the Army and RAF careers office in Chatham, Kent, the South East Counter Terrorism Unit (Sectu) said.
Police officers found ‘basic but viable’ devices, but consider them a ‘low-level threat’, sources said.
Prime Minister David Cameron chaired a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergencies committee to discuss the suspicious parcels, which sources said were ‘crude’ in design but ‘could have caused injury to others.
A Number 10 spokeswoman said: ‘Seven suspect packages have been identified as containing small, crude, but potentially viable devices bearing the hallmarks of Northern Ireland-related terrorism.
‘These have now been safely dealt with by the police and bomb disposal units.
‘Guidance has been issued to staff at all military establishments and Royal Mail asking them to be extra vigilant and to look out for any suspect packages and the screening procedures for mail to armed forces careers offices is being reviewed.
‘The national threat level remains under constant review.’
Police and bomb disposal teams in St Peter’s Street, Canterbury, patrol the area following the bomb scare today
Shoppers have been evacuated from surrounding streets after ‘explosive devices’ were found at an army recruitment centre in Canterbury, Kent
Ministry of Defence bomb disposal units were called, although this is routine with any suspect package.
Detective Superintendent Stan Gilmour, of Sectu, said: ‘The contents of the packages are suspicious in nature and will now be sent off for forensic examination.
‘Even if the contents are determined to be a viable device, they pose a very low-level threat and are unlikely to cause significant harm or damage.
‘When a suspect package is reported we have a routine response which means we may need to evacuate the area if necessary until we can be sure it poses no threat to the public.
‘While this can cause concern and disruption for local communities, it is a necessary precaution until we know what we are dealing with.’
Police officers found ‘basic but viable’ devices that were delivered to the careers’ centre in Oxford
The packages, one which was sent to an office Chatham, Kent, were ‘crude’ in design but ‘could have caused injury to others’
Advice has been sent to the Royal Mail and to the Ministry of Defence to ensure that staff ‘remain vigilant’, Sectu added.
The Queensmere shopping centre in Slough was evacuated, while cordons were placed close to all offices where packages have been found.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said security advice has been reiterated to its personnel, while the Royal Mail said it was co-operating with the police investigation.
It is understood that a suspected package found at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk was a false alarm and is not related to the investigation at the armed forces recruitment offices.
Source : Daily Mail