A major terror alert closed the M6 for more than four hours yesterday – only for armed police to discover it was a false alarm caused by a coach passenger using an electronic cigarette.
Bomb disposal experts and counter-terrorism officers were scrambled to the toll road near Lichfield after one a passengers on the Megabus from Preston to London reported seeing vapour coming from a man's bag around 8am. The 48 passengers, including at least one young boy, were led from the coach and walked about 300 yards to a cordoned off area on one of the closed carriageways.
Witnesses described how they came off the coach "one by one holding their arms up" to prove they were not armed. They were then surrounded by officers and searched.
Officers trained in chemical, biological and nuclear attacks were sent to the site but police later confirmed there was no terror threat.
Armed police officers stand guard over passengers, left, from a Preston to London Megabus coach after it stopped, right, and was surrounded by armed police on the M6 motorway near Lichfield in central England REUTERS/GettyReuse content