The BBC is facing criticism and a £5,000 bill after a terror alert at its northern headquarters in Salford.
Bomb squad officers were called and hospitals put on standby after a package posted from BBC Northern Ireland was deemed suspicious at a sorting office near MediaCity.
The parcel contained a home-made spy camera recording device inside a plastic drinks bottle, for use in BBC Panorama investigations. But when X-rayed it looked like a bomb and a terror scare was sparked at the offices of Swiss Post in Salford, shortly after 9am on Wednesday, with police, bomb disposal, fire and the ambulance service put on alert.
Tony Lloyd, the police and crime commissioner for Greater Manchester, said: “The cost of this operation to the police alone is likely to be around about £5,000 and I will be sending the bill to the BBC’s Director-General. It’s not right that the people of Greater Manchester should have to pick up the tab for Panorama’s stupidity.”
A BBC spokesman said: “The package contained filming equipment. There was a stamp on the outside that showed it had been sent by BBC Northern Ireland and it was addressed to a producer at BBC Salford. The package was referred to the police as it was believed it looked suspicious.”