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Part of Canterbury sealed off after suspicious package found


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Police sealed off part of Canterbury city centre after a suspicious package was found
Police sealed off part of Canterbury city centre after a suspicious package was found

Police closed off part of the city centre after a suspicious package was discovered in Broad Street

Location of Canterbury suspicious package
Location of Canterbury suspicious package

Police are urging witnesses to come forward after a suspicious package was found in Canterbury yesterday (Wednesday).

Neighbourhood officers have been carrying out house to house enquiries today (Thursday), and CCTV footage from local premises is being examined.

Detective Inspector Michelle Whitehead, the senior investigating officer, said: "It is important that anyone who saw anything suspicious in the Broad Street area either yesterday or in days prior to that, come forward and speak to officers.

"Although the package was found to be an elaborate hoax, we take events of this nature extremely seriously, and our main priority is to ensure the safety of the public."

Police were alerted to the suspicious package in Broad Street at 1.15pm by an on duty police officer.

It was protruding from a metal boot scraper in an alcove next to some steps leading to a residential property.

Children at the Diocesan Payne Smith School plus homes and businesses in Broad Street, Northgate and The Borough were evacuated, and Canterbury Cathedral was temporarily closed to visitors.

The package was detonated shortly before 4pm to make it safe, but further tests revealed it did not contain explosives.

All roads except Broad Street had re-opened by 6pm, when most residents had also been allowed back into their homes, and all cordons were removed by 9pm.

There were no other security alerts in the city and police say there is no evidence to link the incident to two hoax bombs left in the city at the end of last month.

A fake device was discovered in Old Dover Road and a suspicious fire started in Marks and Spencer.

DI Whitehead said: "There is no evidence at present to link this incident to those of August 26 in Canterbury and we will now be carrying out a full investigation to trace the person responsible, and bring them before the courts.

"We want to thank everyone in Canterbury for their patience whilst we dealt with this incident. We want everyone to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour or packages to us immediately."


Police at the scene in Broad Street, Canterbury, where the suspicious package was found
Police at the scene in Broad Street, Canterbury, where the suspicious package was found

Police at the scene in Broad Street, Canterbury, where the suspicious package was found

Police in St Radigund's Street, Canterbury, after a suspicious package was found
Police in St Radigund's Street, Canterbury, after a suspicious package was found

Police cordon off St Radigund's Street, Canterbury, while a bomb disposal team investigates a suspicious package

The Chair beauty salon in The Borough was among the businesses evacuated yesterday. Owner Katie Hopkins said: "It's a nightmare. We were about to go to work on some of our clients when we were told to evacuate."

Billy Colfer, of Memories florist in Northgate, added: "It's strange to see this happening again in three weeks in Canterbury. I'm a bit puzzled as to why someone might want to do leave suspicious packages in Canterbury."

Anyone with information or who saw anything suspicious should ring Kent Police on 01622 690690, or Kent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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