BY TOBY PORTER
The Met has issued advice to transport hubs to be “vigilant” and to report all suspicious packages to police.
A counter-terror investigation was launched after “small explosive devices” in A4 postal bags were found at Waterloo railway station and two airports on Tuesday and at Glasgow University on Wednesday.
The Met investigation is treating the cases as linked. The package was reported at 11.40am by staff at Waterloo’s post room before it had been opened.
British Transport Police (BTP) specialist officers made the device safe. No one was injured.
A BTP statement said: “Rail staff followed tested procedures when responding to this item and it is important to stress no passengers were put in harm’s way.
“Specialist units from BTP were quickly on scene and were supported by colleagues from the Metropolitan Police Service.
A cordon remained in place in Cab Road, outside Waterloo railway station.
The picture of the jiffy bag addressed to Waterloo appears to show its sender’s address as Bus Eireann, Dublin. Waterloo station was not evacuated.
Train services at the terminal, the UK’s busiest train station, operated as normal throughout.
Assistant Chief Constable Sean O’Callaghan, from the British Transport Police, said: “Understandably the discovery of these items may cause concern, however I would like to offer some reassurance to those passengers intending to travel.
“We will have a number of specially-trained officers on duty to keep commuters safe and reassured. Officers will be highly visible on station concourses, on board trains as well as the London Underground network.
If you have any concerns, please speak with us or a member of rail staff. “Passengers are of course the eyes and ears of the network and we want to hear from you if you see something that doesn’t look right.
You can report something by discreetly sending us a text to 61016, or by calling 0800 40 50 40.” Irish police are assisting counter-terrorism officers with the investigation.
The heart-shaped stamps with the words ‘Love Eire N’ were issued as wedding stamps last year by Ireland’s postal service. One package also had a return address which appeared to say Dublin.
Ireland’s postal service identified the stamps as its ‘Love & Wedding’ design for greeting cards, wedding invitations and thank-you cards.
The packages were all A4-sized white postal bags containing yellow Jiffy bags. A statement from Irish police said: “An Garda Siochana are assisting the Metropolitan Police with their enquiries.”
The Met had received its first report at 9.55am on Tuesday from staff at the Compass Centre, offices at Heathrow Airport.
The package was opened by staff, causing the device to initiate – but all it did was melt part of the package. No one was injured but the building was evacuated. The third package was reported at about 12.10pm, about half an hour after the Waterloo one.
Police were called to offices at City Aviation House, at City Airport. The package was not opened and was made safe by officers as the building was evacuated.
A similar device that was identified at the University of Glasgow on Wednesday, where a controlled explosion was carried out.
The Met said: “The packages – all A4-sized white postal bags containing yellow Jiffy bags – have been assessed by specialist officers to be small improvised explosive devices.
“These devices, at this early stage of the investigation, appear capable of igniting an initially small fire when opened.”
Commander Clarke Jarrett, from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: “We continue to pursue a number of lines of enquiry and one such line is the possibility that the packages have come from Ireland.
However, we are still keeping an open mind with regards who may be responsible and any possible motivation.
“Our utmost priority is to ensure the safety of the public and staff working with mail. We have issued extensive advice to transport hubs and mail sorting companies to be vigilant for and report suspicious packages to police.
Following developments in Glasgow we have extended this advice to others including reiterating it to those in the education sector.
As always we encourage anyone who sees something suspicious to report it to police immediately.”
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Cheques should be made payable to “MSI Media Limited” and sent by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online. Everyone at the South London Press thanks you for your continued support.