Republic of Ireland news

Gardaí assist probe of explosive devices sent to London station and airports

A British Transport Police vehicle at Waterloo Railway Station, London, after a small improvised explosive device was found. Picture by John Stillwell, Press Association
Tom Pilgrim and Sam Blewett, Press Association

Gardaí are helping counter-terror officers investigating the three small explosive devices sent to major transport hubs in London.

Police responded to reports of suspicious packages at Waterloo train station and office buildings at Heathrow and London City airports on Tuesday.

Security sources emphasised investigators were keeping an open mind, and added that the devices did not appear to be very sophisticated.

Following reports the packages had been sent with Irish stamps, a statement from An Garda Síochána said: "An Garda Síochána are assisting the Metropolitan Police with their enquiries."

All the packages were A4-sized white postal bags containing yellow Jiffy bags and appeared capable of igniting a small fire when opened, the Met said.

Sky News correspondent Alistair Bunkall tweeted a picture which he said showed the package sent to Heathrow airport.

Heathrow Airport was among the three sites which received a suspicious package. Picture by Steve Parsons, Press Association

The stamps appeared similar to some issued by An Post for Valentine's Day 2018, featuring a heart motif and the words "Love Eire".

One of the images showed a partially-burned package addressed to Heathrow which appeared to have Dublin written in black ink in the bottom right-hand corner of the envelope, which Mr Bunkall said had caught fire.

The other picture showed a jiffy bag addressed to Waterloo, with its sender's address appearing to be Bus Éireann, Dublin.

The operator said police had not been in touch, with a spokeswoman saying: "Bus Éireann are currently not aware of this and we have no further comment."

The source of the images was not clear and their veracity has not been verified by the Press Association.

Scotland Yard said officers are treating the incidents as linked and are keeping an open mind regarding motives.

No-one has been injured in the three incidents and no arrests have been made, police said.

Advice has been issued to transport hubs across London to be vigilant and report suspicious devices to police.

Officers first received a report of a suspicious package at The Compass Centre, a building near Heathrow Airport boundary, shortly before 10am.

British Transport Police Officers on the concourse of Waterloo Railway Station in London. Picture by John Stillwell, Press Association

A statement from Scotland Yard said: "The package was opened by staff at the building, causing the device to initiate. This resulted in part of the package burning."

The building was evacuated as a precaution and specialist officers attended the scene to make the device safe.

Police said the building remains closed as enquiries continue.

A Heathrow spokesman earlier said that flights and passengers were not affected by the incident.

A British Transport Police vehicle at Waterloo Railway Station, London, after three small improvised explosive devices were found at buildings at Heathrow Airport, London City Airport and Waterloo. Picture by John Stillwell, Press Association

British Transport Police were later called to reports of a suspicious package in the post room at Waterloo station at 11.40am.

The package was not opened and specialist officers again made the device safe.

One slightly shaken-up man who was among staff outside the Network Rail office said he found the package there.

Asked about the discovery, he said: "I'm sorry, I've been told I can't talk about it."

The station was not evacuated and trains continued to run as normal but cordons were in place outside on Cab Road.

Its owner, Network Rail, would not comment on the incident.

Three small improvised explosive devices were found at buildings at Heathrow Airport, London City Airport and Waterloo train station in London. Picture by Dominic Lipinski, Press Association

Officers were also called to a report of a suspicious package at Aviation House at London City Airport shortly after midday.

The package was not opened, the building was evacuated and specialist officers made the device safe. The building later re-opened.

A spokesman for London City Airport said Aviation House was a staff-only building about three minutes from the terminal and no flights or passengers were affected.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan tweeted: "Our thanks go to police, security, transport staff and all involved for their swift actions to keep our city safe."

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