When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Police swoop on Lancashire bus was false alarm
2:07pm Thursday 5th July 2012 in Blackburn
No-one has been injured, there is no danger to passengers and no-one is being treated as a suspect after armed officers evacuated a coach on a motorway, police said today.
The incident, which shut the M6 toll road near Lichfield in both directions after allegations were made against one of the Megabus passengers, was "not being treated as a terror-related incident", Staffordshire Police said.
The single-decker coach from Preston to the capital left the scene, escorted by a number of police vehicles, shortly after 12.35pm.
A Staffordshire Police spokeswoman said: "Following an initial assessment, we can confirm that no-one has been injured and that there is no danger to passengers at the scene or any other travellers who were on the motorway at that time.
"We are also not treating anyone as a suspect."
She went on: "At around 8.20am today we received a report from a genuinely concerned member of the public about suspicious activity on a coach travelling on the M6 toll at Weeford, near Lichfield.
"Staffordshire Police co-ordinated a multi-agency response.
"Given the nature of the report we responded swiftly and proportionately, treating the information as credible and extremely seriously.
"Our utmost priority was the safety and security of those people on the coach and those travelling on the motorway.
"The M6 toll carriageways were closed in both directions, the coach was directed to the hard shoulder of the motorway and armed officers calmly evacuated passengers with their full support and co-operation.
"Importantly, we are not treating this as a counter terrorism incident."
A spokeswoman for Megabus, which is operated by Stagecoach, said 48 passengers were booked on the service and all were safe and well.
"We are assisting police with their inquiries into an allegation made against a passenger who was travelling on the 05.10 Preston to London service," she said.
"There were 48 people booked to travel on board the service, which was due to arrive at Victoria Coach Station in London at 10.55am.
"The service is stopped at the M6 toll plaza.
"Police have confirmed that all passengers are safe and well and they have been transferred to a substitute vehicle.
"We are making arrangements to provide onward travel for passengers as soon as we receive clearance from the police."
Initial reports suggested a man was seen pouring liquid into a smoking bag on board the coach.
Armed police officers led the passengers off the vehicle one by one.
The passengers, including at least one young boy, were taken to a cordoned off area of the motorway and surrounded by police.
Police searched the coach passengers one by one.
Several other cordoned off areas could also be seen, along with what appeared to be decontamination units.
Military personnel, police dog handlers, firefighters and other specialist units were also at the scene.
A spokeswoman said: "The Ministry of Defence is providing assistance to the police at their request under routine military procedure."
Eyewitness Nick Jones, who was stopped on the motorway for more than an hour and a half, told BBC News that police warned him to stay in his car, keep his windows closed and not to use air conditioning.
"I was beginning to feel a little uneasy," he said.
"I was beginning to look around for an escape route."