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Call for full inquiry into Old Trafford bomb scare and evacuation

Greater Manchester's Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd has called for a full inquiry into the "fiasco" that saw Old Trafford evacuated over a fake bomb ahead of Manchester United's final league match of the season.

It later transpired the evacuation was caused by what police described as an "incredibly lifelike" device which had been left behind by a private company after a training exercise.

The stadium was evacuated around 20 minutes before the match was due to kick off. Credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire/Press Association Images

It is outrageous this situation arose and a full inquiry is required to urgently find out how this happened, why it happened and who will be held accountable.

This fiasco caused massive inconvenience to supporters who had come from far and wide to watch the match, wasted the time of huge numbers of police officers and the army's bomb squad, and unnecessarily put people in danger, as evacuating tens of thousands of people from a football stadium is not without risk.

– TONY LLOYD, POLICE AND CRIME COMMISSIONER
Fans were asked to leave the stadium after a 'code red' announcement. Credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Mr Lloyd called the situation "unacceptable", but said it "in no way demeans the professionalism of the police and stewards responsible for getting fans out, or the supporters' calmness and cooperation during the evacuation".

The stadium was evacuated around 20 minutes before the scheduled kick-off after an announcement was made for security personnel to invoke "operation red code".

The match was subsequently called off.

Army bomb disposal experts carried out a controlled explosion on the device in the North West Quadrant of the ground at 4.30pm.

Mancherster United's game against Bournemouth has been rearranged for Tuesday at 8pm.

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Manchester United v Bournemouth will take place on Tuesday

The stadium was evacuated after a fake bomb, left behind after a training exercise, was found in the toilets. Credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Manchester United's final league match of the season against Bournemouth will now be played on Tuesday after it was abandoned amid a bomb scare.

The Premier League confirmed the fixture will now take place on Tuesday, May 17, at 8pm.

We would like to thank Manchester United's staff, the police and other emergency services for all their efforts today as well as rearranging the match for this coming Tuesday.

Both Manchester ‎United and AFC Bournemouth's management has been extremely helpful in reaching a swift resolution, which is the best possible given today's events.

The clubs will make their own announcements regarding ticketing arrangements.

– Premier League statement

Suspicious item discovered at Old Trafford was 'training device left behind'

Police say a suspicious item found at Old Trafford football stadium, which required a controlled explosion to be carried out, has now been identified as a training device.

A full search of the stadium was carried out following the controlled explosion. Credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The stadium was evacuated shortly before the match was due to begin at 3pm after the suspect package was found in the toilets in the north west quadrant, between the Sir Alex Ferguson stand and the Stretford End.

A controlled explosion was carried out by a bomb squad on the "incredibly realistic-looking explosive device".

The stadium was only partly evacuated, initially, before the club and the police mutually decided to cancel the game and completely evacuate the building.

Police say it has since been discovered that the object was a training device which had been left behind by a private company after a training exercise involving explosive search dogs.

Whilst this item did not turn out to be a viable explosive, on appearance this device was as real as could be, and the decision to evacuate the stadium was the right thing to do, until we could be sure that people were not at risk.

Everyone remained calm, followed instructions, and worked with officers and stewards to ensure that a safe evacuation was quickly completed. Those present today were a credit to the football family and their actions should be recognised. I would also like to thank all those involved in the operation today for such a professional response, which includes police officers, stewards, MUFC staff, media representatives and commentators and the Bomb Disposal Team.

– Assistant Chief Constable John O’Hare, GMP

Executive Vice Chairman Ed Woodward from Manchester United Football Club said: "The safety of fans is always our highest priority.

"I'd like to thank the support from the police which was first class and the impeccable response from fans of both teams."

The club says it is investigating the incident "to inform future actions and decisions."

Old Trafford latest: "Lifelike explosive" deemed not viable

The stadium was evacuated moments before the match was due to start. Credit: Mike Egerton/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Greater Manchester Police says a controlled device was earlier carried out on an "incredibly lifelike explosive" that was discovered in the stadium at Old Trafford.

Officers say a full assessment of the suspicious object found that the device was not viable.

A full search of the stadium is now under way.

Officers with sniffer dogs are searching the stands after a controlled explosion was carried out. Credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire/Press Association Images

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Police investigating suspicious item at Old Trafford

Fans were evacuated after a 'code red' announcement before the match was officially called off. Credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Greater Manchester Police says it is working with staff at Manchester United to investigate a suspicious object that was found in the stands at Old Trafford.

The club's final match of the season was called off this afternoon after the item was discovered in the stadium.

We are doing everything we can to investigate this item as quickly as possible, however our priority is obviously to ensure the safety of everyone in the stadium and surrounding area. As a result, today’s game has been abandoned and a controlled evacuation of the stadium has now taken place.

We are awaiting the imminent arrival of military colleagues to come and support us and establish what exactly we are dealing with.

We don’t make these decisions lightly and we have done this today to ensure the safety of all those attending. I am thankful for everyone’s support and assistance and we will continue to provide updates on this matter as soon as they become available.

– Assistant Chief Constable John O’Hare, GMP

Manchester United v Bournemouth abandoned amid security fears

Fans were evacuated from the stadium after a 'code red' announcement. Credit: ITV News Granada Reports

Manchester United's final game of the season against Bournemouth has been abandoned after a suspect package was found in the stands at Old Trafford.

Fans were evacuated from the north and west stands before the match was officially called off.

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