Bomb scare at Covid vaccine factory forces production to halt as robot called in

A bomb squad raid at a Covid vaccine factory forced jab production to stop, as a robot inspected a suspicious package.

Army and police were called to an AstraZeneca vaccine plant in Wrexham where 400 workers were evacuated on Wednesday morning.

With employees ordered out the building for their own safety, production of the drug, currently rolled out across the UK, was halted until officers removed the suspected bomb hours later.

Roads in the area were closed for a controlled explosion at 3.20pm following a robot's inspection, reports.

Witness Ian Hunter, who works opposite the Wockhardt plant, described hearing a loud bang, he said: “There was no smoke, no flames, just a bang.”

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“It wasn’t a big explosion but it was loud enough to echo around the place.”

Despite the potentially dangerous disruption to operations, an AstraZeneca spokeswoman dismissed talk of it wreaking havoc to the drug maker's schedule.

She said: "We can confirm that the investigation of the suspicious package received today has been concluded.

"Given that staff safety is our main priority, manufacturing was temporarily paused whilst this took place safely.

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"We can now confirm that the package was made safe and staff are now being allowed back into the facility.

"This temporary suspension of manufacturing has in no way affected our production schedule and we are grateful to the authorities and experts for their swift response and resolution of the incident."

North Wales Police provided an update on the incident at 4:45PM, explaining the contents of the package has been taken for analysis and how it got there will be investigated.

A spokesman said: "We received a call at 10.41am this morning (Wednesday) reporting that a suspicious package had been received at the Wockhardt factory on Wrexham Industrial Estate.

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"Officers attended and imposed a security cordon around the site, closing roads to all traffic.

"Colleagues from the Royal Logistics Corp bomb disposal unit attended and examined the package to make sure it was safe to handle.

The contents will be taken away for analysis and police will undertake an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident.

"There are no wider concerns for public safety, however some roads on the industrial estate will remain closed whilst we continue our investigations."

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