After the incidents in Kent, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Edinburgh, a fifth bomb was made safe at a London branch of Boots, the chemist. The attacks all occurred within two hours.
Scotland Yard said anti-terrorist officers were involved in investigations. Robin Webb, spokesman for the Animal Liberation Front, said he believed the bombings were the work of the Justice Department, the newest and most violent animal rights group, which has claimed responsiblity for 32 bombs sent to laboratories, meat trade employees and hunt supporters since October. Before Christmas, the group sent 13 parcel bombs to scientists and suppliers of animals to laboratories. Two exploded and 11 were made safe.
In the first explosion yesterday a 12-inch cylindrical package blew up at Graham Gilder, a haulage firm, in Elmstone Hardwicke, near Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. A second parcel bomb was found at Peter Gilder Haulage, 16 miles away at Bourton-on-the-Water. Later, a device exploded at the headquarters of the ferry operators Stena Sealink, in Ashford, Kent. A secretary suffered minor cuts. The companies are involved in the transportation of animals.
A man suffered injuries at the Pig Improvement Company, Fyfield Wick, near Abingdon, when a poster tube exploded, and another man received hospital treatment after a package exploded at Ross Breeders, a chicken breeding plant at Newbridge, Edinburgh.