Racetrack evacuated after bomb hoax

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The Independent Online

Around 5,000 racegoers were yesterday evacuated from Uttoxeter racecourse following a hoax bomb warning. It was the third time a race meeting in the UK has been abandoned because of a bomb threat since the cancellation of the Grand National in 1997.

Around 5,000 racegoers were yesterday evacuated from Uttoxeter racecourse following a hoax bomb warning. It was the third time a race meeting in the UK has been abandoned because of a bomb threat since the cancellation of the Grand National in 1997.

The evacuation raised fears that racecourses, set amid wide open spaces which makes tight security difficult, are becoming an increasingly easy target for coded warnings.

Four races had been completed yesterday and the fifth was underway when a course announcement urged the crowd to leave the main grandstand. Punters were shuffling out of the racecourse when the runners in the stanleybet.co.uk Handicap Chase raced past the finishing post.

Police and security officers made a sweep of the Staffordshire track before sniffer dogs were brought in. Later, racegoers were requested to leave the course completely.

The Grand National at Aintree was cancelled in 1997 following a security alert, with the race eventually being run two days later on a Monday. In December 1999, a race meeting at Kempton was abandoned after a car bomb threat and a meeting at Ascot on 7 October last year was abandoned because of a coded telephone warning.

Millions of people with connections to the animal trade are being warned to be on their guard following a series of letter bomb attacks which could mark the start of a new campaign by extremist animal rights activists.

Anti-terrorist police are investigating possible links between four devices sent over the last month. The warnings follow two incidents on Friday which caused injuries to a 58-year-old farmer in Ripon, North Yorkshire, and a female member of staff at an estate agents in Patrington, East Yorkshire.

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