Pictures of the home-made fake explosive belts worn by the London Bridge terrorists have been released by police.
The imitation suicide devices were each made from three plastic water bottles covered in silver and black duct tape, attached to a leather belt.
They were worn by killers Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba on their deadly rampage last Saturday night which left eight dead and injured dozens more.
The belts were still attached to all three suspects when they were shot dead by armed officers, said the Metropolitan Police in a statement.
“I have not seen this tactic in the UK before where terrorists create maximum fear by strapping fake explosives to themselves,” said Commander Dean Haydon, who is leading the investigation.
“Anyone who saw them on the night would have thought they were genuine. It is hard to speculate what the motive was for wearing the belts.
“It could be that they had plans to take the attack in to a siege situation or it might be that they saw it as protection from being shot themselves.
The photographs have been released following pictures of the pink-bladed knives which the trio used to slaughter revellers at bars and restaurants in Borough Market.
The 12-inch weapons, bound with black tape, were ceramic – possibly so the murderers could avoid metal detectors, investigators believe.
Each of the men carried an identical blade during the atrocity. Petrol bombs were also found littered alongside the van used to run down victims on London Bridge, suggesting the plot was intended to be more destructive.
In an image of the white rented vehicle, at least two of the crude exploives could be seen at the door of the passenger seat, alongside two blow torches.
Detectives said Butt, believed to be the ringleader of the attack, tried to hire a 7.5 tonne lorry hours before the incident, but failed to secure the vehicle because his payment did not go through.
"Because of the fact his payment method failed he couldn't get hold of that lorry. My view at the moment is that he then went to plan B and ended up hiring the van instead,” said Commander Haydon.
The van travelled over the bridge twice before it was driven at speed at pedestrians.
It is thought three victims were killed on the bridge – including one man who was thrown into the Thames – before the attackers left the vehicle and stabbed five people to death around Borough Market. Police believe Butt was driving the van.Reuse content