Device that triggered Old Trafford controlled explosion was not viable, police say
- Credit: PA
Bomb disposal experts have carried out a controlled explosion on a suspicious item discovered inside Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium.
Manchester United's Premier League clash against Bournemouth was abandoned on Sunday and bomb disposal experts were brought in after the discovery of a suspect package at Old Trafford.
At around 2.40pm an announcement was made for security personnel to invoke 'operation red code' and it soon became apparent the Stretford End and Sir Alex Ferguson Stand were being evacuated.
Shortly after 3.15pm, those remaining in the ground were informed the game was off.
The package was discovered in the North West Quadrant, and shortly before 4pm a bomb disposal unit van was seen arriving at the stadium.
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Greater Manchester Police said on Twitter: 'GMP are working closely with @ManUtd to investigate a suspicious item at Old Trafford. There has been a controlled evacuation. The Army Bomb Disposal Unit are on scene to assist police at this time.'
They later tweeted: 'A controlled explosion has just been carried out within the stadium by bomb disposal experts at Old Trafford.'
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Two further messages sent at about 6.15pm said: 'Bomb disposal experts carried out controlled explosion at Old Trafford on what is described as incredibly lifelike explosive device.
'Full assessment now concluded and found device wasn't viable. A full search of the stadium is ongoing.'
The Premier League said the match would be rearranged for 'as soon as practically possible'.
The league's statement read: 'The decision to abandon the Manchester United versus AFC Bournemouth match was taken after the police advised of the necessity to deal with a suspect package.
'When it comes to matters of security it is obviously right that Manchester United and the Premier League place the safety of supporters and employees foremost.
'The Premier League will seek to rearrange the fixture as soon as practically possible and will advise fans accordingly. It is always the last resort to abandon one of our fixtures and while we apologise for the inconvenience we are sure, in the circumstances, they will appreciate the need to do so.'
Press Association Sport understands the Premier League is waiting to hear about the nature of the package and how it will be dealt with before rescheduling.
The nature of disposal could potentially impact the ability of Old Trafford to host the match, but it is a situation that is being assessed before any decisions are made.
Manchester United announced: 'Due to the discovery of a suspect package in the north-west quadrant of the ground, the match has been abandoned for today on police advice.'