Urgent probe sought into Man U ‘bomb’ fiasco

  • Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times, London
  • Updated: May 16, 2016 19:06 IST
Police with sniffer dogs outside the Old Trafford stadium after fans were evacuated and a game between Manchester United and Bournemouth was abandoned when a suspicious package was found in a toilet. (Reuters)

Civic leaders in Manchester have sought an urgent inquiry after a dummy bomb used in a security exercise caused a Premier League match at Old Trafford stadium to be postponed on Sunday.

 The game between Manchester United and Bournemouth was called off after the item was discovered in a toilet close to kick-off. A controlled explosion was carried out to destroy the device, which police said was accidentally left by a private firm.

Speaking to BBC, Greater Manchester mayor and police and crime commissioner Tony Lloyd sought a full inquiry into the "fiasco", and called on Manchester United to apologise to supporters of both clubs.

Army bomb disposal experts were called to the 75,000-seat stadium after the device was found on Sunday. The match has now been rescheduled for Tuesday.

 A statement from Premier League said: "We would like to thank Manchester United's staff, the police and other emergency services for all their efforts today as well as rearranging the match for this coming Tuesday.”

Lloyd said the incident had “caused massive inconvenience to supporters who had come from far and wide to watch the match; it wasted the time of huge numbers of police officers and the army's bomb squad; and unnecessarily put people in danger."

Assistant chief constable John O’Hare of the Greater Manchester Police said: “Following the controlled explosion, we have since found out that the item was a training device which had accidentally been left by a private company following a training exercise involving explosive search dogs.

“Whilst this item did not turn out to be a viable explosive, on appearance this device was as real as could be, and the decision to evacuate the stadium was the right thing to do, until we could be sure that people were not at risk.”

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