Police solve Fakenham bomb mystery

The “explosive device” that closed off part of a Norfolk market town for several hours and led to the evacuation of people from homes and offices has been identified as a firework.

The “explosive device” that closed off part of a Norfolk market town for several hours and led to the evacuation of people from homes and offices has been identified as a firework.

Last night the police officer heading the investigation into Monday's incident that developed after businessman Martin Holden took a device found in his garden to Fakenham police station in the back of his pick-up truck said the matter was now closed and no action would be taken against Mr Holden.

Det Insp Andy Guy confirmed that analysis of the device by bomb disposal experts had revealed it to be a “commercially bought firework designed to look like a hand grenade”. He said it was the size of a tennis ball and inside was a detonator made from cardboard.

Mr Guy said it was the type of device that could be used in paint ball events.

But he defended the actions taken by police in sealing off the area around the police station for several hours and evacuating nearby homes and offices.

“We had to respond responsibly after being told that a suspect device was in a truck outside a police station. There is a set procedure for this kind of situation and we followed that. We did not know what we were dealing with at first,” he said.

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He said there would be no criminal proceedings brought against Mr Holden who, he said, had acted in good faith when he took the suspect device the nine miles from his home at Field Dalling to the police station.

“We are satisfied after talking to Mr Holden that he did not deliberately set out to mislead anyone but that he acted in good faith,” he said.

“We would, however, strongly advise anyone finding a similar device to immediately contact 999 and on no account attempt to move it,” said Mr Guy.

Mr Holden stressed that he did not just throw the device into the back of his truck but that he wrapped it in bubble wrap and placed it inside a sealed metal box. He also apologised to the residents of Fakenham for the trouble he had caused.

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