The boss of a security firm has claimed he was responsible for leaving a fake bomb in a Manchester United toilet that led to Sunday’s match being abandoned.
Security Search Management and Solutions Ltd’s managing director Chris Reid said he had left a number of items around the Old Trafford ground during a training exercise for five dog handlers last Wednesday.
He said he left a mock-up of an 8in-long pipe bomb in a men’s WC but forgot to remove it after the exercise as he had a similar one already in his bag.
Mr Reid, a retired police officer, told reporters he was “absolutely devastated” after the blunder and said the “mistake is entirely mine, I have to take full responsibility”.
He said the item contained a label saying training aid and it was hung on a hook behind the door of a cubicle, adding the training exercise did not involve dogs.
The dummy bomb was found just minutes before the match between Manchester United and Bournemouth was due to kick off on Sunday afternoon.
Tens of thousands of fans had to be evacuated from the stadium and their final Premier League game of the season was then abandoned.
A controlled explosion was carried out on what police called an “incredibly lifelike” training device which had sparked the red alert.
His statement came after Manchester United said a contractor had signed that the device was removed along with 13 other ones at the end of the exercise.
The suspicious package was discovered in Old Trafford’s North West Quadrant between the Stretford End and Sir Alex Ferguson Stand.
Manchester United has defended its decision to evacuate the 75,000-seat stadium.
The club’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said: “Once a live situation was identified, the club and police had no option but to treat the matter as a potential terror threat.
“We could not have assumed it was a training exercise error. Presented with the same situation in the future, we would take the same action.”
He also said sniffer dogs could not have found the fake bomb as it did not contain any explosives.
The re-arranged match is due to take place on Tuesday evening.
The mayor of Greater Manchester has called for an inquiry after the device prompted the evacuation of the stadium.
Tony Lloyd, who is also the city’s police and crime commissioner, told Sky News: “In the event this had been a real device, the fact that it was only discovered 20 minutes before kick-off – that ground is normally packed not simply 20 minutes before kick-off but begins to fill up several hours before – it should have been found in a routine sweep.”
He denied an inquiry would be about finding someone to blame for what appeared to be a mistake, saying: “It’s not about red faces, it’s about giving reassurances.”
“The way to defeat the terrorists is that life carries on as normal but the public have got to have the reassurance that, in living a normal life, they don’t put themselves at unrealistic risk.
“The fact that (Manchester United) were testing is a good thing, however, the fact that the testing proved there were holes in the security is not such a good thing and that’s why we need proper answers.”
SOURCE: MSN NEWS
GUESS IYKE’s COMMENT: One cannot be too careful when it comes to security matters