An improvised explosive device went off at a shopping centre in Preston this morning.
Police evacuated the Fishergate Shopping Centre after a customer found the device in the men’s toilets just after 9am, the Daily Mail reported.
— Becky May (@miss_mayx) December 17, 2015
Fortunately no one was hurt, as the bomb misfired, and experts from the bomb disposal unit searched the area for more explosives – according to police the IED could have caused serious injury if it had gone off as planned.
— Stu Nicholls (@endurostu) December 17, 2015
Chief Superintendent James Lee, South Division Commander for Preston, told BBC Radio Lancashire:
I would describe it as a small incendiary device which could have caused damage or injury to someone had it fully gone off.
There’s no other issues or intelligence to suggest anything else will happen in Preston, it’s just purely Fishergate centre, and we need to make sure it is safe and secure for people to go back into.
He added that he ‘imagined’ the bomb was left there deliberately to endanger life.
— Iain Lynn (@nwpicdesk) December 17, 2015
As of 3pm the shopping centre was still on lockdown, with officers still conducting a search in there. A Lancashire Police spokesman said:
The safety of the public is our top priority and so the Fishergate centre has been evacuated as a precaution and is currently closed. The rest of Preston town centre remains open for business.
Our colleagues from the EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) have been called to assist us with our inquiries and to help in the disposal of the device.
— David Aspden (@DavidTAPNEFC) December 17, 2015