British police on Sunday said that a suspicious item found outside a mosque in central England, which led to 150 local residents being evacuated, was a small home-made explosive device.
UK Telegraph West Midlands Police said a loud bang heard by residents in the Caldmore area of Walsall late on Friday “appeared to be consistent” with the device exploding, and are treating the incident as a hate crime. No one was injured and minimal damage was caused around the device, which was found by a member of the public in an alleyway adjoining the Aisha Mosque and Islamic Centre.
Assistant chief constable Sharon Rowe said in a statement: “We have launched a full investigation into the suspicious item that has been found, and what’s going to be the key to this is the public’s help in relation to helping us to understand why that suspicious item was in the area.”
Police said officers have increased patrols in the area and around all (NOT all, just Muslim) places of worship, although the incident is believed to be isolated. A 40-metre section of Rutter Street, in the Caldmore area of Walsall, remained cordoned off earlier and two uniformed Army personnel were at the scene. (That’s right, call in the military…but better be on the watch for Muslim beheaders)
Ali Mahmood, the chair of the local traders’ association, said local people had been given no details of the nature of the suspicious item. “It’s a very big shock for the local community,” he told reporters. “To see the road cordoned off like this is shocking.”
About 80 people evacuated overnight were given shelter by Walsall Council, while 70 residents made arrangements with friends or family.
In other news around Walsall, police investigating two sexual attacks on women on buses, have released new CCTV images of the suspect, reportedly a Muslim, in a bid to identify him.
Birmingham Mail The latest pictures were taken from onboard bus cameras after a second woman came forward on Wednesday, June 12. Two images had already been released by the police following a previous incident on Thursday, May 9. Detectives from the force’s Public Protection Unit believe the same offender is responsible for both assaults. Patrols have been stepped up in the wake of the incidents and officers continue to speak to witnesses.
The latest assault involved a 29-year-old woman who was approached by a man as she travelled on the 529 towards Walsall, as the bus passed along WolverhamptonRoad West in Bentley.
He sat down next to her at around 12.45pm and touched her inappropriately, but jumped and moved to the seat in front when she shouted at him. The victim then got off the bus and called police to report the attack. The earlier assault happened to a 17-year-old girl as she travelled on the 997 bus along Lichfield Road on May 9.
She was approached by a man who hugged her and kissed her. The man, who got on the bus in Walsall town centre, then left the bus as it stopped on Lichfield Road near Pelsall and ran off. It happened between 7.40-8.50pm.
Both victims describe the offender as
Asian Muslim, aged between 25 and 30 and around 5ft 4ins tall. He was of slim to medium build and had jet black hair. The man spoke in broken English.