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Stansted Airport: Man arrested as Army bomb squad carry out controlled explosion on suspicious package

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Army bomb disposal soldiers carried out a controlled explosion on a suspicious package at Stansted Airport which resulted in hundreds of passengers being evacuated for about three hours.

A man arrested in connection with the incident and taken into Essex Police custody has since been released without charge.

There was nothing of concern in the package, which was left in the security processing area.

Passengers outside the terminal at Stansted Airport. Picture: Reka Ago (52758465)
Passengers outside the terminal at Stansted Airport. Picture: Reka Ago (52758465)

In a statement at 4.40pm on Saturday (Oct 30), the police said: "This incident has now been dealt with and Stansted Airport staff are working to fully reopen the terminal.

"Military explosive experts have carried out a controlled explosion on the package, which has now been forensically recovered by police investigators.

"Initial assessment would indicate there was nothing of concern within the bag.

"A man has been arrested in connection with this matter and remains in custody whilst investigations continue.

"We want to thank all passengers and members of the public for your patience and understanding."

Two hours earlier the force had said: "We are currently on scene at Stansted Airport following concerns about a suspicious package in the security area. A cordon has been set up.

"Passengers have been evacuated from that area of the airport and everyone has been brought to a position of safety.

"Military explosive experts have been called to assess the package."

In a statement, Stansted Airport said that its security processing area was "temporarily closed" but that arrival flights were "operating as normal".

"Following reports of a suspicious package in the security area a partial evacuation of the terminal has taken place as per standard procedure," the statement read.

"This has resulted in our security processing area being temporarily closed, and this may impact passengers due to travel on outbound flights at this time. Arriving flights are operating as normal.

"Passengers are advised to check the status of their flight with their airline and we thank all those impacted for their understanding."

The first indication of the incident on Twitter came at 1.24pm when a French passenger, Thibault Laurentjoye, tweeted: "Stansted Airport has been partly evacuated. People asked to wait outside or contained inside. What is going on please?"

In an update at 3.53pm, Mr Laurentjoye added: "Staff allowed to re-enter #stanstedairport and incoming flight passengers coming out."

Another passenger, Dr David de Lorenzo, tweeted: "Stansted Airport has been partly evacuated. People asked to leave the stores leaving the shopping carts behind, and being closed in a hurry. What is going on please?"

Hungarian tech PR executive Reka Ago tweeted: "Got to Stansted Airport just in time for an evacuation. Should have known there would be a catch with a £10 return flight."

The incident happened on the day that campaign group Stansted Airport Watch launched a 'Fly Less' campaign to coincide with the COP26 UN climate change summit in Glasgow from Sunday (Oct 31).

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