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30 August 2002

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Article by Stacy Ellen McGahan & Photos by Patrick Trollope.



Suspected package found on Eastbank Street.

A package was found on Wednesday 28th of this month outside the MacDonald's on Eastbank street in Southport at 5pm. Staff acted quickly and sensibly in alerting the authorities and evacuating the building. Other business in the area where disrupted and had to be evacuated. The police response to the call from MacDonald's was quick and thorough evacuating and the area and cordoning it off from the public. Police at the scene searched the bin outside the restaurant. Finding a small black bag similar to one's used by students to carry their books. Nothing serious was found in bag, and the police removed it. The whole incident took place over an hour and soon after the tape was took down and Eastbank street was open to the public again.

The people at he scene where in bemusement as to what was going on. Most where waiting to return to there shops and were frustrated to find it was a false alarm. Others where amazed that they was watching an actual police scene taking place in front of there eyes. A group of lads was discussing the fact that "I know inflation effects the price of burgers, but blowing them up is a bit extreme" With this being the second bomb scare in as many weeks the police confirmed that this incident and the earlier bomb scare at the Southport public library where not connected. They are treating it as a false alarm. One father looked grateful, he had been pestered to go to Macdonald's by his children and as he set his eyes on the scene and said in a very sarcastic tone. "Oh and I was going to take you to McDonalds as well." 

After approaching the international food company Macdonald's we received this statement. "A young boy was concerned about a suspect package in the high street and reported this to a member of staff. The safety of our costumers and staff is always our primary concern and we take all such reports seriously. The police were informed and the restaurant was evacuated for one hour until the police confirmed the package was innocent and the area was safe."

We spoke to staff at Free Spirit, a skate board shop across the road from the Macdonald's about the disruption to business's. "We where stock tacking when we heard and evacuated the shop, the stock tacking had to be delayed disrupting the timetable for the whole week" this pushes up the costs of employees and utilities. The staff at Blacks an outdoor activities round the corner had to close the shop early, loosing costumers in the process. This was only two of the many companies affected by this bomb scare. Macdonald's itself most effected, loosing costumers as those waiting to order would not return to the restaurant to place there orders. A hours unexpected close to any business would be disruptive to sales and staff times and with the added stress that an incident like can cause during the school holidays many places just stayed closed for the rest of the day.

For their actions both the police and MacDonald's should be praised as they all acted in a very responsible and calm manner alerting the

appropriate authorities. It is difficult for young people to approach adults with such a serious suspicions as a possible bomb, but if this had not been a false alarm the young boy's actions would have saved a lot of lives.

Police perform a brave task as they look at suspicious package as fellow officers and onlookers look on.

All clear is given and officers breath a sigh of relief.

Workers from the skate shop ring home to say they will be later than they expected. 

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Southport Reporter is Trade Mark of Patrick Trollope.   Copyright Patrick Trollope 2002.