Rochdale’s stadium is open again as normal after being evacuated on Wednesday before authorities conducted a controlled explosion of a “suspicious package”, which was deemed to be non-viable.
The club announced shortly before 5pm on Wednesday that the Crown Oil Arena had been shut “due to a police incident” but that all staff had been “safely evacuated”.
Greater Manchester Police later confirmed they had been called to “a report of a suspect package” which was being assessed, with some nearby residents evacuated as a precaution.
A bomb disposal lorry was then pictured arriving at the ground, with the images appearing on the website of the Manchester Evening News.
GMP confirmed in a statement to the PA news agency that bomb disposal officers had carried out a controlled explosion on the package, and after more tests to establish the viability of the device, evacuated residents were able to return later in the evening.
“Shortly after 3.06pm on Wednesday 2 October 2019, police were called to reports of a suspicious package at Spotland Stadium, Rochdale. Staff from the stadium and a number of households on Mons Avenue were evacuated,” a police statement read.
“Bomb disposal officers attended and a controlled explosion of the package was carried out. The scene has been closed and people have been allowed to return to their properties.
“The package was deemed to be non-viable. Enquiries are ongoing.”
Further to yesterday's police incident, we can confirm that the #CrownOilArena will be open as normal from 9am this morning.#RAFCpic.twitter.com/htj6L8QDqN— Rochdale AFC (@officiallydale) October 3, 2019
Chief Inspector of GMP’s Rochdale District Niall Hayden-Pawson said: “Public safety is our first priority and I’d like to thank residents for their patience while officers dealt with this incident.
“I would also like to thank the effective partnership working between ourselves, the club and the local authority during our response.”
On Thursday, the Sky Bet League One club released a short statement to report no more issues had arisen.
“Further to yesterday’s police incident, we can confirm that the Crown Oil Arena will be open as normal from 9am on Thursday morning,” the statement read.
Rochdale are set to play away at AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.
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