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Shrewsbury evacuated


Warning: This post was published more than 11 years ago.

I keep old posts on the site because sometimes it's interesting to read old content. Not everything that is old is bad. Also, I think people might be interested to track how my views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have mellowed and matured!

But given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

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Many thanks for your understanding.

July 2005, this site:

A very strange story, this one. The centre of Birmingham – almost 20,000 people – evacuated for a night due to a ‘real and very credible threat’. So what was this threat?

July 2006
, BBC News site:

Part of the centre of Shrewsbury has been sealed off by police after what they describe as a “serious incident”. West Mercia Police have not yet released any details about the incident but they have said they expect the area to be closed for most of Sunday.

I don’t know if anything similar’s happened in between these two times, but it seems odd to be sealing off town centres and evacuating people without ever releasing details of why. I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but clearly something is going on and we’re not being told what. In the latter case, we were told by the West Midlands Chief Constable that “the people of Birmingham were in danger last night”, but never told why.

Are these two incidents connected? I have no idea. I do know that towns (including Birmingham) have updated evacuation plans. Is that connected to any of this? Or this is all just co-incidental, or even relatively normal?

I have no idea what’s going on with these events, and it doesn’t look like anyone’s going to be telling the public any time soon. So I guess the key question has to be: Why not? I’m not sure we’ll ever know.

This 894th post was filed under: News and Comment.

More posts worth reading

What I’ve been reading this month (published 6th November 2017)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 5th October 2017)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 3rd September 2017)

Appearing on Newsnight (published 25th January 2005)

Will the first naked street make drivers slow down? (published 13th January 2005)

Diary for 18th October 2008 (published 18th October 2008)

Blair’s apology (published 22nd June 2005)

Comments and responses

Comment from ceedee

by ceedee

Comment posted at 15:00 on 2nd July 2006.

No idea about the current operation but I heard that last year’s evacuation of central Birmingham was apparently sparked by an over-excitable worker in the TravelLodge hotel who spotted a theatrical pyrotechnics control box in a guest’s luggage.

Rather than trace the guest — almost certainly a technician touring with a show playing that night in one of only a handful of Birmingham theatres — the police launched probably the most extensive evacuation the county had seen since WW2.

There’s a semi-confirmation buried in the Independent’s article:


Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

by sjhoward

Comment posted at 15:08 on 2nd July 2006.

You see – they mention that, along with the controlled explosions on the bus, but the police claimed that all of those were harmless at the same time – indeed, at the same press conference – as claiming that “the people of Birmingham were in danger last night”, and Charles Clarke claimed “There was a serious threat”

Without a further, unspecified threat, the comments don’t add up. Unless it was merely a case of “we thought the people of Birmingham could have been in danger, hence the evacuation”

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