Foiled Gas Terror Attack Brings City Standstill
(Telegraph.co.uk) A suburb of Birmingham was brought to a standstill yesterday by what sources say was a foiled terrorist attack, after a suspect package was found in a hole dug onto a major gas pipe.
An unofficial source said the package had been discovered near to an uncovered mains gas pipe in Small Heath, where a 30ft hole had mysteriously appeared.
The source went on to say that if the gas pipe had been destroyed then it would have cut off the gas supply to the whole of Birmingham.
Officers were deployed to Small Heath, close to the A45 Coventry Road which links the city centre with Birmingham International Airport. A stretch of Small Heath Highway and the nearby Small Heath Industrial Estate were sealed off for about 12 hours.
There were further unofficial reports that two ladders were found in the hole, which was said to be 30ft deep and 10ft wide, next to a gas main near the Ackers Trust dry ski slope site at about 10pm on Thursday.
Drivers were trapped in long queues while hundreds of staff were unable to reach firms on the estate as a result of the cordons. Hundreds of employees lined the roads as they were stopped from entering businesses.
The Small Heath Highway and the industrial estate finally reopened at about 10am. Police and forensic teams remained at the scene last night. Police said they could not comment on operational details.
The police were called to the scene just before 5pm on Thursday after a concerned member of the public phoned them.
But a spokeswoman said the incident was being treated as suspicious, but that it was too early to say what had happened
National Grid, which owns and operates the gas distribution network in the area, referred all calls about the incident to West Midlands Police.
Gary Smith, national officer of the GMB union, said: “GMB has been warning that the regulator, in proposing cuts of 18 per cent in the costs of maintaining the gas distribution system, is sending the wrong message regarding the security and dangers of this industry.”
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