West End bombs

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Police carried out a number of controlled explosions on a van found to be loaded with explosives in Stephen Street, central London, last night.

It was discovered after two coded messages, purportedly from the IRA, to police shortly after 7pm. The messages indicated four bombs had been placed in the West End, between Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street, and would explode 30 minutes later.

The van, a blue Ford Transit, was discovered as police searched Stephen Street, off Tottenham Court Road. It contained a substantial amount of homemade explosives, police said.