Photos of the “incredibly lifelike explosive device” found at Old Trafford on Sunday, which forced Manchester United’s final Premier League match of the season against Bournemouth to be abandoned, have now been published.
Journalists tracked down the extremely apologetic Chris Reid, MD of Security Search Management and Solutions Ltd, who showed off the fake ‘pipe bomb’.
It shows an old Sony Ericsson mobile phone strapped to a pipe with wires on it - as was described on the day. (Scroll down this page to see the photos).
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It’s easy to see why the staff member who discovered the training device in a toilet block was so alarmed, even though a white label was reportedly attached which read: ‘'Training aid. If found, contact SSMS on 07*********'.
A Code Red was called inside Old Trafford, the stadium was evacuated, the match was subsequently called off and the bomb squad were sent in to carry out a “controlled explosion”.
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Photos: The 'fake' bomb
Incident will cost United £3m
Manchester United have refunded every ticket and anyone who paid to attend Sunday’s match can now watch this evening’s rearranged fixture free of charge. This will cost the Red Devils in the region of £3 million.
Mr Reid: 'I am truly devastated'
Mr Reid was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail: “I was contacted by Manchester United to ask about the training at about four o'clock.I was at home watching things unfold - it was first reported that there were two bags, so I made no connection with what had happened on Wednesday.
“I am truly devastated that these people have come all this way, to a very important match at the end of the season. To say I'm sorry doesn't seem adequate, but I am. It is a concern that they weren't found.
“But the regimes they have will be checked to ensure that something like that doesn't happen again, whether it's me or just another bag that's been left.”
He added: "It's difficult for me to say whether they should have evacuated the stadium. Whatever they did was done in a calm and controlled manner.
“The lessons learned will be how was that not found? What are the security implications at sporting events? A lot of people have been calling me today with messages of support because they know how professional I am, and have been for a long, long time.
“I’d like to say it would be a waste of my experience not to continue doing things like this.”
It’s hard not to feel sorry for Mr Reid, who said he had dedicated his life to fighting terrorism.
While it’s true he made a big mistake at the weekend, it seems it was a genuine error rather than anything sinister.
Does Mr Reid deserve to lose his job over an honest mistake? Have your say by leaving a comment below.