Police believe anonymous call that led to Quarry being evacuated during flower show was 'hoax'
Police investigating an anonymous call that sparked the evacuation of Shrewsbury's Quarry in the middle of the town's flower show say they "believe it was a hoax".
Crowds of people enjoying the Shrewsbury Flower Show were abruptly told to leave at about 6.40pm on Friday after an anonymous phone call to police reporting 'suspicious packages' at the venue.
It meant the rest of the evening's entertainment, including a hotly-anticipated fireworks display, was called off, despite organisers' initial hopes that a sweep of the Quarry by the authorities could be complete in time for the display.
Town crier Martin Wood broke the news to the evacuated crowds that the show was over for the day, saying: "We've closed the show down for your own safety. Thank you very much, we do apologise - but there's always tomorrow."
An update from West Mercia Police late on Friday said that the show is expected to return as planned on Saturday.
Superintendent Damian Pettit said: “At this stage we believe the threat was a hoax, but the safety of the public is our number one priority and we, along with colleagues from other agencies, will continue to complete thorough searches.
“A huge amount of work goes into planning events like this for the community and I know it was a disappointing end to the day for visitors. I’d like to extend my thanks to everyone who was at the show this evening for their cooperation, which meant that the site was evacuated quickly and safely.
“I’d also like to thank the event organisers who have worked closely with us this evening and have not hesitated to put the safety of the public first. We worked with them to try and keep the show going, but, as I’m sure you can understand, despite the safety checks they undertake as standard on entry, additional searching was needed.
“The show is expected to open as usual tomorrow and I’d like to reassure people that, on top of the security the event organisers have in place as standard such as bag searches on entry, there will also be increased measures in place tomorrow to ensure that everyone attending can have an enjoyable and safe day. You may also see an increased police presence in and around the area tomorrow.
“Once our searches are complete an investigation will be launched to understand the nature of this evening’s threat, and we won’t hesitate to take action where appropriate.”