April 26, 2006

London police give all clear over suspect packages

LONDON (Reuters) - Police said a series of suspect packages
found in west London on Wednesday were harmless after a major
alert which saw officers seal off a busy area of the capital
and call in bomb squad experts.

A large cordon was thrown around the Shepherds Bush and
Hammersmith Grove areas of the city, a major traffic and
transport thoroughfare, after members of the public alerted
police to the packages.

However, the operation, which brought chaos during the
morning rush-hour, was scaled down after the packages, one of
which was thought to have nails sticking out of it, were found
to be harmless.

A police source said it was believed to have been a stunt
by a performance artist and that a woman had been arrested at
the scene, but a spokeswoman said this could not immediately be

British police are on high alert after four suicide bombers
killed themselves and 52 commuters on three London underground
trains and a bus in the capital last July.

"It has all been cleared," a police spokeswoman said after
Wednesday's packages were given the all-clear.

The packages had all been placed above ground and no
attempt had been made to conceal them.