Sunday, 23 June 2013
Bomb Squad Called To Walsall Mosque
Police examining a suspicious item found in a Walsall mosque have confirmed they are treating the incident as a hate crime.
A police spokesperson said an explosion was heard by residents on Friday evening. On Saturday, the item was discovered by a member of the public and handed into the police.
Superintendent Keith Fraser, the head of crime and operations for Walsall Police, said the incident was being treated as hate crime but the motive for placing the item near a mosque remained unclear.
Army experts ordered the evacuation of nearly 40 homes near the Rutter Street mosque in Walsall, West Midlands Police said.
Speaking at the scene, Mr Fraser said: “At around 10.15pm on Saturday police were called to Aisha mosque in relation to a suspicious item that had been found.
"The force are taking this extremely seriously.
“We have launched a full investigation into the suspicious item that has been found, and what's going to be the key to this is the public's help in relation to helping us to understand why that suspicious item was in the area.
”So if anybody saw anything over the weekend I'd like them to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers 0800 555 111."
Mr Fraser, who confirmed that the suspicious item was being examined by trained experts, also appealed for the media not to speculate about what had been found.
The officer added: "Obviously there are going to be a number of hypotheses around this suspicious item, what I would ask is that we work with what we know at the moment.
“The investigation is at a very, very early stage.
“Hypotheses which raise people's concern about what may or may not have happened would not be helpful at this stage."
Earlier, a police spokesman said the item was discovered in the grounds of the mosque by the member of the public before being taken inside the building.
The spokesman stressed that the evacuation of homes was a “precautionary and temporary” measure, and added: “Officers were immediately dispatched and cordoned off an area around the building