Three improvised explosive devices have been found at separate transport hubs in London in what Scotland Yard believes to be a series of linked incidents.
The Metropolitan police’s counter-terrorism command launched an investigation after the packages were found in the post room at Waterloo station, City Aviation House at City airport and the Compass Centre on the grounds of Heathrow. Irish police are assisting the Met with the investigation, the Garda Síochána said. It is understood reports suggesting at least two of the packages had Republic of Ireland postage stamps on them are accurate. “As would be expected, we are working closely with the CT [counter-terrorism] policing network and our police partners more widely,” the Met said.
A source added that, although the belief was that the packages were sent from Ireland, investigators were not jumping to the conclusion that the motive was to further the cause of Irish republican terrorists. At this early stage of the investigation, police believe whoever sent the packages did not mean to kill. The A4-sized white postal bags containing yellow Jiffy bags were found to be capable of igniting a small fire when opened, the Met said.
They are being treated as linked and the Met’s counter-terrorism command said it was keeping an “open mind regarding motives”. No arrests have been made but multiple inquiries have sent. At about 9.55am, officers received a report of a suspicious package at the Compass Centre at Heathrow. The package was opened by staff at the building, causing the device to initiate. This resulted in part of the package burning. No one was injured. Flights at Heathrow were not affected. At about 11.40am, British Transport Police were called to reports of a suspicious package in the post room at Waterloo. The package was not opened. Specialist officers attended and made the device safe. No one was injured.
The station was not evacuated. However, cordons were put in place around a small area outside the station on Cab Road. Rail services continued to operate as normal. At about 12.10pm, police were called to a report of a suspicious package at City Aviation House in Royal Docks, Newham. Staff were evacuated from the building as a precaution. The package was not opened and no one was injured. Specialist officers attended and made the device safe. The building has since reopened. As a precaution, DLR services to London City airport were suspended but later restarted. Flights to and from the airport were not affected. The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said an investigation had been launched.
“The police are treating the incidents as linked, but are keeping an open mind regarding the motives,” he said. Khan confirmed there were no injuries and urged the public to report any suspect packages to the police. Waterloo is the busiest rail station in the UK, with 94 million passengers in 2017-18. Its owner, Network Rail, would not comment on the incident on Tuesday evening.
Offices for the public sector company’s workers based at the station were evacuated and remain closed. London City airport said City Aviation House had reopened after staff were evacuated at about 12.15pm on Tuesday. “Specialist police officers dealt with the device, which did not affect flight operations. The airport terminal remained open throughout,” it said.
The building is used by airport staff and is near the passenger terminal.
Create Life Saving Experiences with HAZSIM. Click HERE for more information.
Ready for your free quote? Submit HERE.