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Suspicious-looking bag in Worcester store was "part of the display"
A CAUTIOUS shopper pointed out a bag he thought was "suspicious" while in a Worcester store to be told it was part of the display.
Iain Sinclair was shopping in Marks and Spencer, in the city centre, on Saturday, March 29, when he saw an "old-looking bag" had been left on the side next to some shirts with no one around the claim it.
He reported it thinking it could have been left by a customer or even part of some sort of terrorist activity that would set off a security risk in the likes of London and airports across the country.
"Better to say something than be sorry, so we are advised - but not in Marks and Spencer," he said.
"I was visiting Worcester last weekend and looking for a shirt. I was concerned about this bag [pictured], had someone just put it down? There was no one around, so as you do, I risked the embarrassment and pointed it out to be told - with a don’t be silly emphasis - 'That is part of our display. We want people to see things that go with the outfit'."
The manager informed Mr Sinclair that the store had been instructed by their headquarters to advertise and display the messenger bag, which was placed upside down and "strewn" on a table, next to the shirts that he had been looking to buy.
A spokesman for the store said the display would not normally look that way and it was clear a shopper had disturbed the shirts and possibly moved the bag and it had not yet been put back to normal by a member of staff during a check of the displays.
She said: “We’d like to thank Mr Sinclair for his vigilance. We incorporate accessories into our clothing displays to help customers visualise a complete look. ”
But what the shopper was concerned about was that official advice from anti-terrorism police after the 7/7 attacks in London, is to point out any suspect items, like luggage left unattended, to deter any possible attacks rather than ignore them.
"What is of concern is that there was no interest in the implications of my genuine mistake, nor any process for taking note of it," he said.
"So once we get used to these bags in odd places we will not notice the one that should not be there."
The Advice Centre on West Mercia Police's website states that although the county is not one generally at risk, counter terrorist policing was a priority.
It stated: "Funding, facilitation and radicalisation that may lead to terrorist acts can happen anywhere. A community that thinks 'It will never happen here' benefits only the criminal, the terrorist and the violent extremist alike.
"The terrorist threat is real and there is no room for complacency. We must all remain alert and aware of our surroundings at all times. Together we can fight terrorism and make our communities safer."
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