Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Animal rights linked to firebombs at Boots

AN INCENDIARY device hidden in a hair perm kit exploded in a branch of Boots the chemists yesterday. An extremist animal rights group was thought to be responsible. No one was injured in the incident in Bodmin, Cornwall, which happened hours after a similar device found in another hair- care product, a highlight kit, bought at Boots' Liskeard branch had been made safe.

An investigation was being carried out by explosives experts and police last night, and Boots' stores in the West Country were searched for more devices.

A police spokesman said that there had been no warnings. But Robin Webb, a spokesman for the Animal Liberation Front, said last night that he had received a call on Sunday from a group called the Justice Department warning that devices had been planted in 'five or six Boots' stores in the South'. He said Boots was selected by animal rights activists because they use animals to test drugs.

The Justice Department is thought to be behind several recent letter bomb attacks in recent weeks. One, sent to a London furrier, injured a girl aged three when it exploded.

Last night, the police advised anyone who bought either of the Boots' products this week to take them outside, place them in an open space and call the police.

A spokesman for Boots said yesterday: 'Our concern is for our customers. All our Cornish stores have been searched and thankfully we've found no further devices. We will be increasing our security in all our stores.'