Police are looking to question a man in relation to an improvised explosive that was placed inside a bin at the Fishergate Shopping Centre in Preston. They have released CCTV of the man after the device partially exploded.
In the video, a white male wearing a cap can be seen carrying a bag and taking the escalator at the shopping centre just after 8.30am on 17 December. Police believe that the explosive device was placed in bin with deliberate intention to endanger life.
The improvised explosive was discovered by a bomb disposal squad, following which the mall was evacuated. The device then partially exploded inside the bin at around 9.10am causing minimal damage. No injuries were reported. Police later searched the shopping centre for more explosives but none were found. The shopping centre was scheduled to reopen on 18 December.
Detective Chief Inspector Jill Johnston, of Preston Police, said: "We are keen to speak to the man in this CCTV as we believe he could have information which could assist us. We are treating this as a criminal investigation and while the motivation for this incident remains unclear at this stage, we believe this device has been left there deliberately and did have the potential to cause serious injury if it had exploded. I would appeal to anyone who recognises this man, or who has any other information which could assist to get in touch with us."
Anyone with information should contact police on 101 quoting log number 293 of today (Thursday, December 17th) or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Leader of Preston City Council, Peter Rankin said: "Clearly, it's a concern that a small crude device like this has been deliberately placed in the toilets of a Preston shopping centre. We are working closely with the Police who are investigating the incident. The City Centre is open and we'd encourage people to go about their normal business, although remain vigilant as ever. We would like to thank the Police and the emergency services for the professional way they have handled this incident."