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Manchester United must be 'up front' over alert, says crime chief

By PA Reporters

Manchester United must be "up front" with answers about the "shambolic" security scare at Old Trafford, the city's police and crime commissioner has said.

Tony Lloyd, who is also mayor of Greater Manchester, said the club's reputation and public safety had come under scrutiny after a security firm accidentally left a dummy bomb at the stadium, triggering Sunday's evacuation.

Bomb disposal experts were called to the 75,000-seat stadium to carry out a controlled explosion on the "incredibly lifelike" training device that sparked a red alert.

The fake bomb was found in a toilet just minutes before Manchester United were due on the pitch, leading to the Barclays Premier League game against Bournemouth being postponed.

Mr Lloyd said it was "astonishing" that the dummy bomb was not found earlier and the alarm raised only 20 minutes before kick-off, with thousands of fans already in the ground. The company responsible was Security Search Management & Solutions Ltd.

The firm was hired by Deacons Canines to carry out practical training exercises for sniffer dogs at the stadium last week.

The dummy bomb - initially described by police as an "incredibly lifelike explosive device" - should have been removed at the end of the exercise.

Security Search Management & Solutions Ltd's managing director Chris Reid said: "It is a very unfortunate situation and the consequences obviously were that a lot of people were inconvenienced. Fortunately everybody was fine which is the most important thing."

Mr Lloyd, who has called for an inquiry, said United needed to provide some answers. He said: "I think United have to come up front with all this because in the end it's their reputation but it's also public safety and both those two really do matter.

"I think United have got to begin to put answers forward. Fiasco is the right word. It was shambolic. It wasn't, I think the fact they're the world's richest club, that they are, it was the fact that the security had missed something that in the end ought to have been found."

Belfast Telegraph


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