Scotland suspicious packages: Controlled explosion at Glasgow University after parcel discovered by police

Follows suspicious package found at RBS headquarters in Edinburgh

Adam Forrest@adamtomforrest
Wednesday 06 March 2019 13:53
Police at Glasgow University follow suspicious package evacuation

Edinburgh’s Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) headquarters and several buildings at the University of Glasgow were evacuated on Wednesday morning after police were called to reports of suspicious packages.

Police Scotland said they had carried out a controlled explosion on a device sent to the university.

“The package was not opened and no one was injured,” said assistant chief constable Steve Johnson said. “A controlled explosion of the device was carried out this afternoon.”

Essex University was evacuated later in the day after a suspicious package was sent to the campus in Colchester.

Officers in the Scottish capital were called out to RBS Gogarburn House and ordered the building be cleared shortly before 11am, but the package was later found to be a false alarm.

“Inquiries have established that the package posed no risk to the public and contained promotional goods,” said Police Scotland. “The area surrounding the building has been reopened.”

Officers in Glasgow reportedly shouted at students to keep clear of evacuated areas as students took photos of the police cordon. One witness said: “They seemed really concerned, shouting at students to keep them away.”

Following the controlled explosion, a statement from Glasgow University said: “Police Scotland have advised the university that the incident relating to a suspicious package in the mailroom is now over.

“Minor restrictions will remain in place around the Isabella Elder building and Botany Gate while the mailroom will remain closed for now. All other buildings are being reopened.”

Police and fire services outside University of Glasgow after evacuation

Security officials have said the package found at the University of Glasgow University “looks to be linked” to the three packages found in London yesterday, according to Sky News.

Explosive devices were mailed to Heathrow Airport, Waterloo station and London City Airport.

Images of the parcel bombs suggested they had been sent from the Republic of Ireland, with false sender’s addresses in Dublin written on the outside.

Police and emergency services at Glasgow University campus

Police are still working to identify a motive or suspect. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon, the senior national co-ordinator for counter-terrorism policing, said on Wednesday that no link had been made with Irish dissidents at this stage.

“We are talking to our Irish counterparts but at the moment there’s nothing to indicate motivation of the sender or ideology, so I cannot confirm at the moment if it's connected to any Ireland-related terrorist groups,” he said.

Asked whether there could be more packages, he replied: “They were sent through the postal system so we are not ruling that out.”

In a bid to identify a suspect, Mr Haydon said forensic teams are scouring the packages for DNA and fingerprints in an effort to identify the sender.

He stressed they are small devices “not designed to kill”, but said they show “some degree of sophistication” that would require a certain level of capability to produce.

Met released photo showing suspect package sent to Heathrow after it ignited

Scotland Yard said it was not investigating any other suspicious packages. The force also released images of the London packages circulated to transport workers and postal sorting staff across the country.

Commander Clarke Jarrett, head of the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command, said police had not received any further reports of devices in London, but had “issued extensive advice to transport hubs and mail sorting companies to be vigilant.”

Additional reporting by agencies

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