Van man arrested for bomb joke at Aintree
A BOMB joke cost an Aintree contractor £80 after he was arrested and given a fixed penalty notice.
The 38-year-old was on his way into the racecourse at 10.30am yesterday when he told security staff his van was filled with explosivesOfficers took the remark seriously and the throwaway comment prompted a full police search of the van when it pulled up at the external gates.
When no device was discovered the workman, from Manchester, was given a fixed penalty notice for wasting police time. A 62-year-old colleague, from Wigan, was released without charge.
Supt Julie Cooke, who is leading the Grand National police operation, said: "The van was stopped before entering Aintree due to the vigilance of the search teams.
"Merseyside Police will continue to support Aintree in their rigorous search procedures to ensure that all those attending Aintree have an enjoyable and memorable experience."
Security surrounding he event remains tight following the 1997 coded threats that saw 70,000 race-goers evacuated from the course.
A spokeswoman for Aintree told the ECHO that the incident showed organisers were taking security seriously and that the measures in place were effective.
The IRA scare 14 years ago led to the Grand National being delayed by 48 hours, to run on a Monday for the first time in the race’s History
It also cost organisers £30,000 in refunds to ticket holders.
Emergency planning teams opened schools as dormitories, set up soup kitchens and gave advice to people with no money and nowhere to stay.
This year as police prepare to welcome 150,000 visitors to Aintree during the festival they reminded people to expect to undergo a series of security checks, including bag and transport searches, as they arrive at the races.
Ticket holders are urged to arrive at the racecourse in plenty of time and limit the number of bags they bring to help get through security as quickly as possible. THE ECHO