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Dublin: 11°C Monday 26 October 2020
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Manchester Police reveal Old Trafford bomb scare was caused by a training device

Greater Manchester Police say a private company mistakenly left the ‘incredibly lifelike’ device behind.

Old Trafford stewards wait outside after the stadium was completely evacuated.
Old Trafford stewards wait outside after the stadium was completely evacuated.
Image: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Updated 22.20

GREATER MANCHESTER POLICE tonight say the device that prompted a stadium evacuation and match abandonment at Old Trafford today was in fact the target of a training exercise which was mistakenly left behind.

The discovery of the ‘suspect package’ in the north-west corner of the stadium brought about an evacuation order shortly before kick-off at this afternoon’s Premier League meeting between Manchester United and Bournemouth. The match was later called off as the stadium issued a ‘code red’ alert and the bomb disposal unit was called in.

Around 4.30pm, a controlled explosion was carried out inside the stadium. Greater Manchester Police reported that the target device was ‘incredibly lifelike’, but ultimately was not a viable threat.

However, tonight Police issued a further clarification, saying:

Following today’s 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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Sean Farrell

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