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Major events go ahead across UK amid heightened security measures

Sporting events and concerts have taken place across the UK amid heightened security following the suicide bomb attack in Manchester. The Duke of Cambridge laid a wreath in tribute to the victims of the Manchester Arena attack on the pitch before the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium. An accompanying note, signed by the Prince, read: “We will never fear coming together to celebrate all that unites us. “In memory of the friends and family taken from us in Manchester.”

A minute’s silence was also held to remember the 22 people killed.

Image: Wreaths were laid on the pitch at Wembley in memory of the Manchester victims

Heightened security measures were in place at the 90,000-capacity stadium, with a helicopter hovering above and officers on horseback patrolling the grounds. Arsenal won the game 2-1. More than 1,000 armed police officers were on standby in the capital as the FA Cup Final and the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final at Twickenham went ahead.

Image: Everyone in the stadium observed a minute’s silence

Rugby fans also observed a minute’s silence before the kick off of the final, which Exeter Chiefs won 23-20 over Wasps after extra time. Fans at both events were advised not to bring bags and to expect additional security checks and searches. Police had urged to go out and enjoy themselves over the bank holiday weekend. Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley – national lead for counter-terror policing – urged Britons to go about their business as usual.

He said: “Enjoy yourselves and be reassured by the greater policing presence you will see. “We can’t let the terrorists win by dissuading us from going about our normal business.”

Image: Fans at Twickenham observe a minute’s silence before the Aviva Premiership Final

A huge security operation was also staged as the first major event took place in Manchester since the attack on Monday night. Hundreds of police officers were on duty at Lancashire Cricket Club’s Old Trafford ground ahead of the Corteeners concert, with 50,000 fans expected to attend. Armed police were stationed at gates and officers in high visibility jackets were in position every 50 yards on roads approaching the stadium. Airport-style security devices were used to screen visitors, with queues as tickets and bags were checked before entry.

Image: Armed police at Old Trafford Cricket Ground as fans arrive for the Courteeners concert

Iron Maiden were also set to appear at the O2 in London, and US singer Anastacia was performing at the O2 Apollo in Manchester. On Sunday, the Great Manchester Run will go ahead as planned with a large turnout expected in the wake of the attack. Nine suspects are in custody following days of intense police activity and a series of raids in Greater Manchester, Warwickshire and Merseyside.

The country’s leading counter-terror officer has said “immense” progress has been made in the probe into a suspected network linked to suicide bomber Salman Abedi.

Operation Temperer, which has seen hundreds of armed soldiers support police on the streets, will be gradually wound down from midnight on Monday after the UK’s threat level was reduced from “critical” to “severe”1.

References

  1. ^ was reduced from “critical” to “severe” (news.sky.com)

Extra security in place for Arsenal-Chelsea FA Cup final

Last Updated: 23/05/17 2:27pm

Wembley will have enhanced security for Saturday’s FA Cup final between Arsenal and Chelsea

The Football Association says “enhanced security” will be in place at the FA Cup final in the wake of Monday’s Manchester attack. A terrorist attack at the end of a concert at the Manchester Arena on Monday night left 22 people dead and 59 injured. And sporting organisations including the FA, the EFL and the International Cricket Council have sought to reassure supporters due to attend upcoming games. The victims of the attack will be remembered at Saturday’s final between Arsenal and Chelsea, and fans have been told to expect extra security checks at Wembley.

“Fan safety is of paramount importance and we have robust security measures in place at Wembley Stadium,” an FA statement read. “In collaboration with the Metropolitan Police and the local authorities there will be an enhanced security operation for all upcoming events. “All supporters are encouraged to arrive for events at Wembley Stadium as early as possible for security checks and to avoid any delays in entering the stadium.”

Wembley also hosts the League Two and Championship play-off finals on Sunday and Monday, and an EFL statement read: “Whilst there have been no specific threats in this country, our Security Advisor will be liaising with Wembley Stadium, the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) and the Metropolitan Police to ensure the arrangements in place provide a safe and secure environment for all supporters attending this weekend’s play-off matches. “The safety of fans remains our highest priority . The EFL takes security issues extremely seriously and we would urge all supporters planning to be at Wembley Stadium to be vigilant of their surroundings at all times, stay alert and not be alarmed.”

Manchester United held a minute’s silence for the victims and those injured in the Manchester attacks

Manchester United held a minute’s silence for the victims as they prepared to fly out for Wednesday’s Europa League final in Stockholm, where stringent security measures are in place1. The ICC, meanwhile, says security is the “highest priority” ahead of its Champions Trophy and Women’s World Cup tournaments in England. “We operate on advice from our Tournament Security Directorate – in conjunction with the ECB and relevant authorities – to ensure that we have a robust safety and security plan for both tournaments,” a statement read. “We will continue to work with authorities over the coming hours and days and review our security in line with the threat levels.

“The security situation has been very much front and centre of our preparations and we constantly review our procedures to guarantee they are as effective as possible to keep everyone safe.”

References

  1. ^ stringent security measures are in place (www.skysports.com)

Thieves attack Tesco security guard in Loughborough before brandishing large knife outside store

Two thieves involved in attacking a security guard and brandishing a large kitchen knife outside a store, were later caught when staff recognised them on Facebook, a court heard. Ben Rowland punched the victim so hard it knocked him to the ground and caused multiple fractures to his eye socket. Co-accused, Luke Parker, then frightened other members of staff, causing them to flee by waving a large kitchen knife at them, Leicester Crown Court1 was told.

Rowland (27), of Alpine Drive, Thurmaston, Leicester, was jailed for a total of two years.

He admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm on July 1. Read more: Man found dead in grounds of Leicester Royal Infirmary
2 Parker (25), of Manor Road, East Leake, who admitted possessing an offensive weapon, was given a two year jail sentence, suspended for two years, with 150 hours of unpaid work and was told to pay 1,000 court costs.

Both admitted joint theft of a bottle of whisky from a branch of Tesco in Loughborough3, which resulted in the violence.

‘He punched him hard to the face, knocking him over’

Thieves Attack Tesco Security Guard In Loughborough Before Brandishing Large Knife Outside Store James Bide-Thomas, prosecuting, said the defendants were attempting to leave the store, after Parker concealed the whisky down his trousers. Parker became aggressive when security staff attempted to detain him but he ran out of another exit and was seen to put something in the back of a car, which was driven a short distance.

Mr Bide-Thomas said: “Parker and Rowland walked after the car and a security guard took hold of Rowland who punched him hard to the face, knocking him over and causing pain and a nosebleed.” Read more: Police seize cannabis plants from house in West End, Leicester4 The guard suffered multiple fractures to his orbital bone.

He was treated in hospital and had to take time off work.

‘He waved a knife at other members of staff’

Mr Bide-Thomas said: “Parker intervened to assist Rowland and produced a large carving knife, about 12 inches long, and waved it at other members of staff, who were afraid they were about to be hurt and retreated into the store. “Both defendants were later identified by staff using Facebook.” Rowland, who appeared in court via a live video link from HMP Leicester, also admitted common assault upon three women at a house party he was refused entry to, in March last year, and accepted the offending put him in breach of a suspended sentence for an earlier theft.

Read more: ‘Callous’ burglar stole from two elderly women – aged 96 and 87
5

‘You’ve been habitually violent’

Judge Nicholas Dean QC told Rowland: “You assaulted a security guard when he was carrying out public responsibilities, stolen from Tesco with Parker. “You’ve been habitually violent in the past and your record is very poor. “You have difficulty controlling your temper even when provoked in a relatively mild way.

“I’ve read a letter from your partner which shows there’s another side to you. Sentencing Parker, the judge said he recognised that he had moved to a different area to escape negative influences, had put offending behind him and was settled into full-time employment. Read more: Man bludgeoned in hammer attack tells of ‘calculated cruelty’ which nearly killed him6

He said because of Parker’s recent progress he would suspended the sentence in his case.

In mitigation, defence counsel said both men now displayed a greater level of maturity and intended keeping out of future trouble.

References

  1. ^ Leicester Crown Court (www.leicestermercury.co.uk)
  2. ^ Man found dead in grounds of Leicester Royal Infirmary (www.leicestermercury.co.uk)
  3. ^ Loughborough (www.leicestermercury.co.uk)
  4. ^ Police seize cannabis plants from house in West End, Leicester (www.leicestermercury.co.uk)
  5. ^ ‘Callous’ burglar stole from two elderly women – aged 96 and 87 (www.leicestermercury.co.uk)
  6. ^ Man bludgeoned in hammer attack tells of ‘calculated cruelty’ which nearly killed him (www.leicestermercury.co.uk)