BOMB SCARE UPDATE: Upminster residents ask why bag was exploded in petrol station
Residents have questioned why a controlled explosion was carried out in an Upminster petrol station, after a suspicious package was found abandoned in the forecourt.
The Tuesday morning bomb scare, in the BP garage in Corbets Tey Road, brought much of the area to a standstill from 7.40am as Havering Police cleared streets, diverted traffic, and evacuated shopkeepers and residents
The bomb squad carried out a controlled blast at 8.40am.
Neighbour William Morrow, 31, said he was on his way to work as a builder when the drama unfolded.
“It’s was all a bit crazy for a Tuesday morning!” He said. “The police were clearing everyone out of the way and there was about a 45 minute wait while the bomb squad arrived.
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“Then there was this loud explosion out of nowhere. We thought the bag had gone off, but it turned out it was the bomb squad who’d done it!
“We thought it was a bit weird they would do it in the garage. You can’t even smoke at a petrol station!”
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A spokesman for Havering Police said the package was dealt with by “experienced highly trained specialists who ensured that there was no risk to the public” while tackling the incident.
William captured the sequence of events on his digital camera after ignoring police advice to leave his flat oppostie the station.
A member of the public alerted garage staff to a black hold-all left beneath the attendants’ window at the station, which police initially thought was a “student’s bag”.
William’s partner Kate Douglas-Smith described seeing “sheets of paper or magazine” resigning down after the explosion.
She added: “When it went off, I was watching from my balcony; it was loud enough to make me run inside screaming. It was all a bit of excitement!”
“A large bag had been left unattended at the station,” confirmed a Havering Police spokesman. “Cordons were put in place at Corbets Tey Road and Springfield Gardens and buses and traffic were diverted.
“Investigation into the owner of the bag continues.”
Crews from London Ambulance Service (LAS) were on standby as a precaution, but there were no injuries, a spokesman for the service said.
A spokesman for BP said: “We took all precautionary measures we could. We evacuated our shop and called police when staff became aware of the suitcase.
“We cut off the petrol pumps before the explosion, which was carried out on the pavement near the forecourt. Health and safety of staff and the public is our priority.”