Shropshire Star

Bomb alert figures released for Shropshire

Police responded to more than 220 bomb alerts across Shropshire and Mid Wales in the past five years, figures released today reveal.


The figures showed the majority were false alarms, but some left police and army experts having to deal with unexploded Second World War devices and grenades.

The highest figures were recorded in Telford, where there were 45 bomb alerts - 13 of which were in Wellington.

Shrewsbury saw 35 alerts while there were 11 in Oswestry. There were seven alerts in Market Drayton, six in Church Stretton, four each in Whitchurch and Shifnal, three each in Bridgnorth, Ludlow and Newport, and one in Craven Arms.

Police from West Mercia were also asked to help with a bomb alert over the border in Wrexham. Of these calls 102 were false alarms, but some required police to dispose of unexploded devices which had been lying unnoticed since the end of the Second World War or even earlier.

In Powys there were 101 bomb alerts in the same period of time, 2011 to March 2015, with 74 being false alarms.

These included 16 in Newtown, 11 in Welshpool, two in Llanfyllin and one each in Meifod and Montgomery, as well as lending assistance for three alerts in Shropshire.

Police today said they had a duty to take every bomb alert call seriously.

In May officers were called out to Mitchell's Fold and Corndon Hill, on the Powys/Shropshire border, after dog walkers found what was believed to be a pre-World War Two device.

The object was about seven or eight inches long and was rusty, resembling artillery. It is believed it could have been a mortar - an artillery weapon which fires explosive shells – known as mortar bombs. They are fired at close range targets and have been used since medieval times.

Its discovery was not the first unexploded bomb to be found in the county. An unexploded World War Two device was found in a garden shed in Childs Ercall, near Newport, in June 2013. The 20cm-long rusty cylinder found by farmer Richard Perry in his late father-in-law's shed turned out to be a 155mm World War Two shell. The bomb had a brass pin sticking out of the top, which would have been used to set a timer for an explosion.

In both cases bomb disposal experts arrived within an hour and carried out controlled explosions after evacuating the immediate area.

In the past two months there have been two bomb alerts in Telford. On June 2 this year a man made a hoax call to police about a bomb in Telford bus station. And on July 10 a 19-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of making an item capable of causing an explosion or endangering people or property after a suspicious package was found in Wellington. The teenager from Wellington was arrested after the town was shut down and bomb disposal units were dispatched to carry out a controlled explosion on the package. Pensioners at a care home were among those evacuated to the local supermarket until the all-clear was given.

Today's figures were released under a Freedom of Information request from the Shropshire Star.

West Mercia Police spokeswoman Terri-Anne Powell said: "There is no typical response to a bomb alert as each occasion is different. However, every call about a suspicious package is reviewed in the light of current known intelligence, the nature of the location, and anything of relevance about other circumstances at the location at the time, for instance public events.

"We would like to remind people of our advice if they do ever find a package that they believe to be suspicious; don't move it and call the police who will carry out a threat assessment, offer advice and respond appropriately."

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