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Published: 09:13 | 16/5/16

Investigation into Old Trafford device

Package was dummy device

Manchester United are to investigate after a dummy device left over from a training exercise resulted in Sunday's Premier League match against Bournemouth to be abandoned.

The Sir Alex Ferguson Stand and the Stretford End were evacuated when a suspect device was found shortly before the planned 3pm kick-off and the match was subsequently abandoned on the advice of the Great Manchester Police.

A bomb disposal team carried out a controlled explosion but it later emerged that the suspect package was a dummy device left behind from a training exercise, which was carried out by a private firm.

"A suspicious item found at Old Trafford football stadium, which required a controlled explosion to be carried out, has now been identified as a training device," a statement from the Greater Manchester Police said.

GMP assistant chief constable John O'Hare added: "Following today's controlled explosion, we have since found out that the item was a training device which had accidentally been left by a private company following a training exercise involving explosive search dogs.

"Whilst this item did not turn out to be a viable explosive, on appearance this device was as real as could be, and the decision to evacuate the stadium was the right thing to do, until we could be sure that people were not at risk.

"Everyone remained calm, followed instructions, and worked with officers and stewards to ensure that a safe evacuation was quickly completed. Those present today were a credit to the football family and their actions should be recognised.

"I would also like to thank all those involved in the operation today for such a professional response, which includes police officers, stewards, MUFC staff, media representatives and commentators and the bomb disposal team."

The match has been rescheduled for Tuesday night and United's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has confirmed a full investigation will be carried out.

"The safety of fans is always our highest priority," Woodward said. "I'd like to thank the support from the police which was first class and the impeccable response from fans of both teams.

"The club takes security very seriously and staff are regularly trained with the police and emergency services to identify and deal with these incidents.

"We will investigate the incident to inform future actions and decisions."

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