Thursday, December 30, 2010

'Terror' in My Home Town

The Shires re-opens after bomb squad blow suspect package up
Shoppers and staff have been allowed back into The Shires shopping centre in Trowbridge after bomb disposal experts blew up an abandoned suitcase shortly before 3.30pm today.

The controlled explosion was initiated by the Royal Logistics Corps bomb disposal squad based in Tidworth.

They used a bomb disposal robot which entered The Shires and blew the black suitcase up causing slight damage to Halifax store window, near where the bag was left.

The centre was evacuated at 1.50pm not long after Wiltshire Police were told of the suspicious package.

I was there. Pathetic really. A 'suspicious package' was found near where my sister works and naturally everyone's first thought is "ZOMG! A bomb!". So the entire shopping centre was evacuated and the area was cordoned off. An hour later, a bomb disposal team arrived and sent in a robot. After a few 'suspenseful' minutes, we heard this pop, and then a policeman went in and came out with a suitcase full of random luggage.

I wish I had my video camera on me at the time, all I had was my crappy phone camera. In a way it was kind of fun, since nothing interesting ever happens in my home town, but those two wasted hours could easily have been saved if someone just unzipped the bag and looked inside. Talk about paranoia!

At one point someone told me they were examining the CCTV to see if they could discern whether it looked like the bag was placed there intentionally, or if it appeared as though it was just accidently left there. Not surprsingly they couldn't tell and that's why they needed to call in the bomb squad. Yet another case of CCTV failing to show anything useful.

I'd imagine it's even more over the top in places like London. What's sad is how a country that once withstood months of ceaseless bombing from the Nazis during WWII is now so paranoid of 'terrorism' we feel the need to call in bomb disposal robots every time we see an unattended suitcase.