Police commissioner demands inquiry into Manchester United fake bomb 'fiasco'

Mon May 16, 2016 1:24pm EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - Manchester's police commissioner demanded an inquiry into the "fiasco" of a fake bomb left behind from a training exercise at Old Trafford that forced the abandonment on Sunday of a Premier League soccer match.

His call came as the head of the training company involved admitted full responsibility for the incident.

The device led to the evacuation of Manchester United's stadium shortly before the scheduled 1400 GMT kick off of their final league game of the season against Bournemouth.

"This fiasco caused massive inconvenience to supporters who had come from far and wide to watch the match," Police and Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester Tony Lloyd said.

It also "wasted the time of huge numbers of police officers and the army's bomb squad, and unnecessarily put people in danger", he said in a statement.

Lloyd added: "A full inquiry is required to urgently find out how this happened, why it happened and who will be held accountable."

Police said the realistic-looking device, which was destroyed in a controlled explosion, had been accidentally left in a toilet by a private contractor that was conducting a training exercise.

Manchester Utd said in a statement that the contractor had signed off for the device as having been recovered, along with 13 other devices, at the end of the exercise.

"That device could not have been detected by sniffer dogs on the routine match day search ... as it contained no explosives and was used in an exercise training handlers, not dogs," the club's Executive Vice Chairman, Ed Woodward, added in the statement.   Continued...

Britain Soccer Football - Manchester United v AFC Bournemouth - Barclays Premier League - Old Trafford - 15/5/16General view of police outside the stadium after the match was abandonedReuters / Andrew YatesLivepic