Mayor wants inquiry into Old Trafford ‘fiasco’ – ESPN FC

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Manchester United fans give their thoughts on their side’s last home game of the season being abandoned due to a bomb scare.
BBC Reporter Sarah Corker joins SportsCenter live at Old Trafford to discuss the recent controlled explosion at Old Trafford.

Greater Manchester’s mayor and police & crime commissioner Tony Lloyd has demanded an inquiry following the abandonment of Manchester United’s final Premier League game of the season.

Bomb disposal experts called in by Greater Manchester Police carried out a controlled explosion after a suspect package was found in toilets shortly before the scheduled kick off of United’s clash against Bournemouth on Sunday.

The discovery of the item, described as an “incredibly lifelike explosive device,” prompted a full-scale security alert and complete evacuation of the stadium.

The device was later revealed to be a fake bomb that was not removed after a recent training exercise involving sniffer dogs conducted by a private firm. The game has been rescheduled for Tuesday at 8 p.m. BST.

Lloyd said: “It is outrageous this situation arose and 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.

“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.”

Lloyd’s comments on the police and stewards were echoed by John O’Connor, a former detective with the Metropolitan Police who headed up the Flying Squad at New Scotland Yard,

He said that the police response to the fake bomb scare shows contingency plans for terror attacks are effective.

Bomb disposal experts at Manchester United’s ground on Sunday.

“The police are likely to err the side of caution and I don’t blame them, because if something had happened and the Police had said ‘we did get a warning, but we didn’t do anything about it,’ they are going to be in big trouble,” O’Connor told BBC Radio Five Live.

“I can understand why the tensions are so high because they are going to be vulnerable for this every time there is a football match on.

“It is brilliant really because it shows they are contingency plans that the police have been training for a long, long time. We saw the one last week [at the Trafford Centre in Manchester] which was for a terrorist attack.

“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.”

Mayor wants inquiry into Old Trafford ‘fiasco’ – ESPN FC