by Izzy Lyons, Bill Gardner, Martin Evans and Crime Correspondent, The Telegraph, March 5, 2019
Counter terror police are investigating a possible 'Irish dissident plot' after three improvised explosive devices were sent to transport hubs around London.
A spokesman for Ireland's Garda police has confirmed to the Telegraph that they have been asked to assist the Met Police with their inquiries.
The three packages, which police said were capable of igniting a small fire when opened, were sent to buildings at Heathrow Airport, City Airport and Waterloo Station.
The devices were contained in jiffy bags contained inside A4 size envelopes.
On the top right hand of the packages, there are heart shaped stamps that appear to resemble the '2018 Love & Marriage stamp' available from Irish post offices.
A Garda spokesman told the Telegraph: "We have been asked to assist the Met with their inquiries."
The incident comes a year after MI5 downgraded the threat of a UK mainland terrorist attack by dissident republican groups.
The Security Service lowered the assessment from substantial to moderate, which means intelligence officials consider an attack "possible but not likely".
Dissident republicans’ chances of hitting the mainland are thought to have weakened after successful operations by police and counter terrorism officials.
The last time they plotted action was in 2014, when a series of crude letter bombs were sent to Armed Forces' recruiting offices across Britain.
The seven devices bore a Republic of Ireland postmark.
The Met Police said it was treating today's three incidents as linked but was keeping an open mind regarding motives.
In a statement a Met spokesman said: "At approximately 09:55hrs the Met Police received a report of a suspicious package at The Compass Centre, Nelson Road, Hounslow.
"The package was opened by staff at the building, causing the device to initiate. This resulted in part of the package burning. No one was injured.
"The building was evacuated as a precaution. Specialist officers attended and made the device safe.
"The building remains closed as enquiries continue. The building is not based at Heathrow Airport, and flights have not been effected by this incident.
"At approximately 11.40hrs British Transport Police were called to reports of a suspicious package in the post room at Waterloo Station.
"The package was not opened. Specialist officers attended and made the device safe. No one was injured.
"The station was not evacuated however cordons are in place at a small area outside the station on Cab Road. Train services are continuing to operate as normal.
"At approximately 12.10hrs police were called to a report of a suspicious package at offices at City Aviation House, Royal Docks, Newham. Staff were evacuated from the building as a precaution.
"The package was not opened and no one was injured. Specialist officers attended and made safe the device. The building has been reopened.
"As a precaution, DLR services to London City Airport were suspended but are now fully operational. Flights to and from the airport have not been affected."
The London Mayor Sadiq Khan said in a statement: "The Met Police Counter Terrorism Command has launched an investigation after three suspicious packages were found at locations around London today.
“I have been fully briefed by the Met Commissioner. The police are treating the incidents as linked, but are keeping an open mind regarding the motives.
“I would like to thank officers from the Met, British Transport Police and other transport staff for their quick response today – the Met has confirmed that nobody has been injured.
“While transport services continue to operate as normal, I urge all Londoners and visitors to our city to remain vigilant, and report any potential suspicious packages to the police.”
This article was written by Izzy Lyons, Bill Gardner, Martin Evans and Crime Correspondent from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected]