BBC faces £5,000 bomb scare bill, says police commissioner

Image caption It is understood the package was intended for staff working on the BBC's Panorama programme

A police and crime commissioner says he will charge the BBC for the cost of a police operation, after its "stupidity" resulted in a bomb scare.

Postal sorting office workers in Salford called police after spotting a parcel containing a camera in a bottle.

It had been sent from BBC Northern Ireland to the BBC North base.

Greater Manchester's police and crime commissioner Tony Lloyd said he would write to complain. The BBC said it had discussed the incident with police.

It is understood the package was required by the BBC's Panorama programme and was not part of an investigation testing security measures.

'Not right'

Mr Lloyd said the incident had cost police about £5,000 and "caused severe disruption to the emergency services".

He said: "I will be sending the bill to the BBC's director general - it's not right that the people of Greater Manchester should have to pick up the tab for Panorama's stupidity.

"There is a police investigation ongoing and it needs to run its course, but I will also be writing to James Harding, the new director of news at the corporation, as I expect him to carry out a full review of the circumstances."

A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said it was likely that posting a bottle would arouse suspicion.

The BBC said the package had been sent by Royal Mail - and not via the corporation's internal mail service - as it was needed in Salford the following day.

A spokesman said: "There was a stamp on the outside of the package that showed it had been sent by BBC Northern Ireland and it was addressed to a producer at the BBC in Salford.

"The package was referred to the police as it was believed it looked suspicious.

"Everyone acted in good faith and we discussed what happened in detail with the police."

Swiss Post Solutions, which runs the sorting office involved, declined to comment on the incident.

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