A dummy bomb which sparked the evacuation of thousands of football fans from Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground was recorded as having been removed by the security firm which left it there, the club’s executive vice-chairman said.
Ed Woodward made the comment the day after bomb disposal experts were called to the 75,000-seat stadium to carry out a controlled explosion on the “incredibly lifelike” training device which sparked a red alert.
The fake, which had been used in a training exercise, 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.
In a statement, Mr Woodward said: “Following investigation, the device proved to have been left in error following the training of dog handlers by a sub-contractor.
"The contractor had signed the device as having been recovered along with the 13 other devices at the end of the exercise.”
Security Search Management & Solutions Ltd was hired by Deacons Canines to carry out practical training exercises at the stadium last week.
The dummy bomb should have been removed at the end of the exercise.
The evacuation began around 20 minutes before the scheduled kick-off of 3pm after an announcement was made for security personnel to invoke “operation red code”.
Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd said the Red Devils needed to be “up front”about the “shambolic” security scare at Old Trafford.
Mr Lloyd, who is also the mayor of Greater Manchester, said
it was “astonishing” 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.
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