A suitcase left in front of the Shire Hall was destroyed on Tuesday after fears of a bomb attack on Old Elvet, Durham. The scare, triggered by the discovery of the baggage during a burglary investigation, coincided with the Brussels terrorist attacks which left 31 dead and over 300 wounded. Responding to the incident, Inspector Steve Long from Durham Police said that “given the circumstances after this morning with what happened in Brussels in Belgium we took precautions”. It is still unclear why the suitcase was abandoned, a potential explanation being that of a distasteful prank.
Durham has seldom experienced bomb-scares since 1942, when Durham Cathedral narrowly escaped destruction by an aborted Luftwaffe raid.
An Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team from Catterick Garrison detonated the suitcase, which contained CDs and DVDs, in two explosions over five minutes. Although part of Old Elvet was cordoned off from around 09:30 until 13:15, traffic on New Elvet was unaffected. However, access to the Philosophy and English departments’ buildings was restricted, causing some disruption to open day proceedings.