Security personnel are reportedly on high alert at Britain's Got Talent live auditions in London and the judges of the show were seen leaving London Palladium surrounded by bodyguards.
According to Daily Star, the heightened security was because of "acid attack fears", given multiple such incidents took place across the capital in 2017. The report, which did not mention the source of the information, added that judges — Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, David Walliams and Alesha Dixon, as well as hosts Ant McPartlin and his best pal Declan Donnelly — did not want to take any chances with security.
Participants attending the audition are reportedly also undergoing tighter security checks at the audition venue.
"London Palladium are stopping people taking opened bottles of water/drink in, then they're selling 500ml bottles of water to audience members for £2.50," wrote one participant on Twitter to highlight the heightened security at the theatre in the City of Westminster.
"Presumably due to risk of acid attacks? They didn't do this a year ago. 'How sad they've decided to profit from the situation!'" The person added.
A Britain's Got Talent spokeswoman reportedly said on Wednesday (31 January) that they take the "safety around the show very seriously". "We continually review security procedures to ensure they meet our needs," she added, without addressing the "acid attack fears" speculation.
IBTimes UK, meanwhile, could not independently verify the concerns flagged in the Daily Star report and have contacted the organisers of the show, and are awaiting their comments on the heightened security.
Meanwhile, one of the high profile acid attack incidents of 2017 was the one involving Arthur Collins, the former boyfriend of reality star Ferne McCann. He was sentenced to 20 years in jail after he was found guilty by a Wood Green Count Court of throwing a hazardous substance at partygoers who were celebrating the Easter bank holiday weekend at Mangle nightclub in East London in April last year. 600 people were left scrambling for the exit, with 14 sustaining burn injuries from the attack.
Collins had claimed he threw the acid thinking it was a date rape drug, which was going to be used to spike women's drink at the party. A video produced in the court showed Collins throwing a substance into the face of another man before scattering it over people standing close to him.
Britain's Got Talent will air on ITV later this year.