Manchester - Greater Manchester's mayor slammed the
abandonment of Manchester United's game with Bournemouth on Sunday over what
turned out to be a fake bomb as "outrageous", and called for a full
Army bomb disposal experts carried out a controlled
explosion of a suspicious package which was later revealed to be a dummy left
behind by a private security company following a training exercise.
Prior to the detonation, the Stretford End and Sir Alex
Ferguson Stand were evacuated, before the rest of United's 75,600 capacity Old
Trafford ground was cleared as well, with the Premier League match against
Bournemouth called off 20 minutes before Sunday's scheduled 1400 GMT kick-off.
With cities across Europe on high alert for terror attacks
following fatal attacks in Paris and Brussels, Greater Manchester Police
intially said they had discovered an "incredibly lifelike explosive
But Tony Lloyd, Greater Manchester's mayor and the elected
police and crime commissioner for the region, said: "It is outrageous this
"A full inquiry is required to urgently find out how
this happened, why it happened and who will be held accountable.
"This fiasco caused massive inconvenience to supporters
who had come from far and wide to watch the match, wasted the time of huge
numbers of police officers and the army's bomb squad, and unnecessarily put
people in danger, as evacuating tens of thousands of people from a football
stadium is not without risk."
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He added: "Whilst this in no way demeans the
professionalism of the police and stewards responsible for getting the fans
out, or the supporters' calmness and cooperation during the evacuation, it is
unacceptable that it happened in the first place."
- Evacuation 'right thing to do' -
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) assistant chief constable
John O'Hare said: "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
"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."
John O'Connor, a former detective with London's Metropolitan
Police, said Sunday's incident proved that security plans were effective.
"It shows that it does work and it might be a pointless
exercise for potential hoaxers, or even potential terrorists, to make a target
of a football stadium," he told BBC Radio.
Manchester, one of England's major cities, was the setting
last week for a series of mock terror attacks designed to test the response
from emergency services.
One of those exercises involved staging a mock terror attack
in the northwest hub's Trafford Centre -- Britain's second-largest shopping
But police were accused of anti-Muslim prejudice after the
fake bomber was heard to shout "Allahu Akbar" (God is great). They
The postponed match, the two clubs' final Premier League
game of the season, will now take place on Tuesday, May 17 at 1900 GMT.
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