Suspicious package causes security alert at Hampshire naval base

Police cordon set up due to ‘ongoing incident’ at HMS Collingwood, home of Royal Navy’s maritime warfare school

A security incident is ongoing at the Royal Navy’s warfare school in Fareham, Hampshire, the Ministry of Defence said.

Hampshire police confirmed its officers were at HMS Collingwood following a report of a package being discovered, and a cordon had been set up.

Four suspicious packages were discovered at army careers offices in Oxford, Brighton, Canterbury and Slough last Thursday.

Counter-terrorism police and military bomb disposal experts launched an investigation as the devices that bore “all the hallmarks of Northern Ireland-related terrorism”.

An MoD spokeswoman said: “We can confirm there is an ongoing incident at HMS Collingwood, the Royal Navy warfare school in Fareham, Hampshire”, but that it would be inappropriate to make further comment.

HMS Collingwood is the headquarters of the navy’s maritime warfare school, where training includes weapon engineering, diving, physical training, chemical biological radiation nuclear and damage control, sea survival, seamanship and military skills.

A package was found in Aldershot, Hampshire, on Wednesday, while two packets were found on Tuesday at the armed forces careers office in Reading, Berkshire, and the army and RAF careers office in Chatham, Kent.

Although the devices were viable, they were crude and basic, making them unlikely to cause serious injury.

While the motive behind the campaign remains unknown – and no one has yet claimed responsibility – letter bombs have been used by dissident Irish republicans in the past. The postmark on one of the packages was from the Republic of Ireland and there were a couple of similar incidents late last year.

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