Cowley curtailed by bomb scare

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police123• James Street shut down after reports of a bomb planted in the residential and student area

A bomb scare happened on Tuesday in Cowley. Residents spotted a suspicious looking suitcase which appeared to have wires emerging from it on top of a wheelie bin on James Street.

The suitcase was spotted around midday and police were called to the scene at 12:40. The road had to be sealed off for around an hour and a half whilst police bomb experts and a sniffer dog investigated the suspected bomb.

After examining the suitcase, the experts declared it safe at 13:59 and the area was reopened shortly after. Police have confirmed that there was no danger.

However, the incident hit local business owners, who saw a loss in trade due to the road closure. Jamie Fisher, landlord of the James Street Tavern, expressed frustration that what would have been a day of bumper profits due to the sunny weather was ruined because people were unable to drive to his pub.

He remarked on the unfortunate timing of the incident, following recent trade disruption from a fire on 31st March.

The blaze broke out in Cycle King on Cowley Road, gutting the shop. Eight fire engines and around 70 firefighters and officers were needed to put out the fire.

The incident resulted in over twenty four hours of road closures, which affected surrounding businesses in the Cowley area.

A second year at Regent’s Park who lives opposite the site of the bomb scare commented: “It’s weird to think of something like that happening in Oxford.”

However, she remarked that few of her acquaintances were affected by the event as they were all revising for finals in libraries in the city centre.

Oxford was last affected by a bomb scare in March 2011, when a 72-year-old man was believed to be carrying a bomb in Oxford Rail Station. He had been suspected of taking the hoax bomb on a train to Heathrow airport.

A spokesperson from Thames Valley Police advised anyone who sees suspicious objects to follow this practice of contacting the police, calling 999 if it is deemed an emergency situation.