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Loud explosion in Romford town centre as suspect package is blown up

PUBLISHED: 09:38 16 January 2015 | UPDATED: 18:09 16 January 2015

(Picture: Chris Cockram/Twitter)

(Picture: Chris Cockram/Twitter)

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A bomb squad this morning blew up a suspicious package left on a ramp outside the Liberty in Romford town centre.

Mercury Gardens, Western Road and Main Road are affected (Picture: Chris Cockram/Twitter)Mercury Gardens, Western Road and Main Road are affected (Picture: Chris Cockram/Twitter)

The incident led to a dramatic evacuation of the shopping centre, as well as nearby offices including Havering Council’s Mercury House.

Mercury Gardens between Main Road and Western Road was closed between 8.30am and 10am and buses were put on diversions.

Witnesses reported hearing a loud explosion after a locked suitcase was discovered.

A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said: “Police in Havering are dealing this morning, Friday 16 January, with a suspect package found on a service road near to the Liberty Shopping Centre, Romford.

A view of the ramp, in the background, which is thought to have been where the package, a suitcase, was found (Picture: Sam Gelder)A view of the ramp, in the background, which is thought to have been where the package, a suitcase, was found (Picture: Sam Gelder)

“At around 08:30hrs the shopping centre and surrounding offices were evacuated.”

The area reopened at about 10am after a controlled explosion of package was carried out.

Liberty centre manager Jonathan Poole said: “In line with procedure and as a precautionary measure The Liberty was evacuated at 9:15am this morning following the discovery of an unattended package.

“Police attended to investigate the item and the centre was reopened at 10:05am. We thank shoppers, local residents and the police for their help and cooperation.”

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