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Controlled explosion carried out on ‘suspicious device’ in Cambridge’s King’s Parade

Kings Parade in Cambridge is cordoned off by police
Kings Parade in Cambridge is cordoned off by police

A controlled explosion has been carried out in Cambridge city centre after the discovery of what police initially called a “suspicious package” outside Great St Mary’s Church.

Cambridgeshire police were called at 7.42pm to King’s Parade and put up a cordon from Bene’t Street to St Mary’s Street.

Restaurants were evacuated and accommodation at Gonville and Caius and Corpus Christi colleges was either put on lockdown or evacuated.

A bomb disposal van arrived and a controlled explosion on a briefcase took place at about 9.50pm.

Police said no further explosions were expected.

Trinity Street in Cambridge is cordoned off
Trinity Street in Cambridge is cordoned off

At 10.24pm, the force confirmed the contents of the briefcase did not prove to be suspicious. The cordon was lifted.

Earlier today, Queensgate shopping centre in Peterborough was evacuated over a suspicious package but it turned out to be a false alarm.

Peterborough Passport Office was also evacuated and a man in his 50s was arrested on suspicion of making a bomb hoax.

The incidents come with the threat level to the UK from international terrorism remaining at “severe”, meaning an attack is highly likely.

Cambridgeshire Constabulary stepped up its visible police presence across the county during the day following the terror attack in London on Saturday night.

The force asked the public to be alert but not alarmed and to report any suspicious behaviour or activity.

Chief Constable Alec Wood said: “Our thoughts are with the victims and families of those who have lost loved ones following the truly horrendous attacks in London.

“Our colleagues in the Metropolitan Police and emergency services have done a brilliant job in responding to these attacks and we are thinking of them all at this time.

“There will be a heightened visible policing presence across key locations in the county today and I would like to reassure the public that we remain dedicated to keeping people safe.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite said: “Another appalling terrorist attack has taken place in London and our thoughts and prayers are with all of those who are affected by this atrocity.

“Cambridgeshire Constabulary works closely with regional and national agencies to ensure we are as safe as we possibly can be. Following the Manchester attack there has been an increased presence of armed policing at our key tourist sites and an increased presence at all major events across the county.

“I will be talking to the Chief Constable today to be assured that the constabulary will continue with the additional patrolling. I will ensure that all resources necessary are made available to the constabulary at this difficult time.

“As far as I am aware, there continues to be no threat in Cambridgeshire that we are aware of, but we must all remain vigilant and ensure that if there is something that you see or hear that you are not sure about, that this is reported to the police immediately.

“We must stay calm and go about our daily lives to ensure that terrorism never wins. We are a nation with a big heart with thousands of years of history rooted firmly in our land of freedom and democracy. We stand together defiant and ever resilient as one nation.”

“While there remains no specific threat to Cambridgeshire and Peterborough we will continue to monitor the situation and ensure our streets are kept safe.

“We are united in grief and will stand together to show that these barbaric acts will not weaken our communities but will strengthen them.”

Jason Ablewhite, the Police and Crime Commisioner at Huntingdon Police HQ. Picture: Keith Heppell
Jason Ablewhite, the Police and Crime Commisioner at Huntingdon Police HQ. Picture: Keith Heppell

The force is joining in a national minute’s silence on Tuesday at 11am.

You can report suspicious behaviour or activity to police, in confidence, on 0800 789 321 or at gov.uk/ACT but in an emergency the public should always call 999.

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