Police confirm Old Trafford 'bomb' was a training device

The suspect package which led to Manchester United's Premier League game against AFC Bournemouth being abandoned was a dummy device left over from a training exercise.

Manchester United Premier League AFC Bournemouth

Manchester United's game against AFC Bournemouth was abandoned Source: Getty Images

Greater Manchester Police made the extraordinary announcement after a controlled explosion was carried out on the item at Old Trafford.

Police and security staff were forced to evacuate the stadium shortly before the scheduled 3pm kick-off (local time) and the game was called off soon afterwards.

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A statement from GMP read: "A suspicious item found at Old Trafford football stadium, which required a controlled explosion to be carried out, has now been identified as a training device."

GMP assistant chief constable John O'Hare said: "Following today's controlled explosion, we have since found out that the item was a training device which had accidentally been left by a private company following a training exercise involving explosive search dogs.

"Whilst this item did not turn out to be a viable explosive, on appearance this device was as real as could be, and the decision to evacuate the stadium was the right thing to do, until we could be sure that people were not at risk.

"Everyone remained calm, followed instructions, and worked with officers and stewards to ensure that a safe evacuation was quickly completed. Those present today were a credit to the football family and their actions should be recognised.

"I would also like to thank all those involved in the operation today for such a professional response, which includes police officers, stewards, MUFC staff, media representatives and commentators and the bomb disposal team."

After the stadium was given the all-clear, it was announced the game had been rescheduled for Wednesday morning (AEST).

United's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward revealed the incident would be fully investigated by the club.

Woodward said: "The safety of fans is always our highest priority.

"I'd like to thank the support from the police which was first class and the impeccable response from fans of both teams.

"The club takes security very seriously and staff are regularly trained with the police and emergency services to identify and deal with these incidents.

"We will investigate the incident to inform future actions and decisions."

The evacuation of supporters in the stadium was carried out expediently by police and security staff.

As for the teams, it is understood that both sets of players were kept in the dressing rooms for around 40 minutes before being taken to a suite and then looked after by security and hospitality staff.

They mingled and watched football on television, mostly departing after Manchester City's match at Swansea City finished.

United manager Louis van Gaal and the Bournemouth team coach left Old Trafford at around 5.30pm.

A statement from the Premier League issued at 9pm read: "We can confirm that today's abandoned fixture between Manchester United and AFC Bournemouth will be played on Tuesday, May 17 at 8pm.

"We would like to thank Manchester United's staff, the police and other emergency services for all their efforts today as well as rearranging the match for this coming Tuesday.

"Both Manchester United and AFC Bournemouth's management has been extremely helpful in reaching a swift resolution, which is the best possible given today's events."

United are expected to refund all ticket holders for the game and offer them free entry to the rearranged fixture, Press Association Sport understands.


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3 min read
Published 16 May 2016 at 7:39am
By Andy Hampson, Simon Peach
Source: PA Sport