Channel NewsAsia

Suspect packages found at British military recruitment offices

British counter-terrorism police said on Thursday they were dealing with a series of suspect packages found at a string of armed forces recruitment offices.

LONDON: British counter-terrorism police said on Thursday they were dealing with a series of suspect packages found at a string of armed forces recruitment offices.

Bomb disposal units have been called to deal with the packages, sent to at least seven offices in southeast England, with police sources saying there was a "low-level" but "viable" threat.

Packages have been found at offices in Aldershot, Chatham, Brighton, Oxford, Reading and Slough from Tuesday onwards, the South East Counter Terrorism Unit (SECTU) said.

Meanwhile, a suspicious package was found at the Mildenhall air force station in eastern England, a major United States military airbase.

Kent Police told AFP that they were also investigating reports of a suspect package in Canterbury.

The SECTU's Detective Superintendent Stan Gilmour said: "Because suspicious packages were found at various locations yesterday, notes were sent out to all the army careers offices, as well as the Post Office, asking staff to be extra vigilant and look out for any suspect packages."

Sky News television, citing sources, said those found on Tuesday in Reading and Chatham were confirmed to be small but viable explosive devices.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman confirmed they were aware of ongoing security incidents in Brighton, Oxford and Slough involving armed forces careers offices.

"The relevant police authorities are investigating with military explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams in support," he said.

"Security advice has been reiterated to our personnel."

The Queensmere Shopping Centre in Slough was evacuated, while cordons were placed close to all offices where packages have been found.

The main gate at Mildenhall was closed on Thursday morning after US security personnel found a suspicious package during a routine vehicle inspection.

They worked with British bomb squad officers to clear the scene, and certified it as safe some two and a half hours later, the airbase said.

"The vehicle was attempting to gain entrance onto the installation and was going through a routine search," it said in a statement without elaborating.

Kent Police said they received reports just after midday of a suspicious package at an address in Canterbury, where an army and navy recruitment centre is located.

"A cordon has been put in place and nearby properties evacuated," a spokeswoman said.

The Kentish Gazette newspaper had pictures of a bomb disposal unit at the scene.

Tweet Photos, Videos and Update on this Story to  #cna