POLICE have arrested a man after the discovery of a suspicious device made from an asthma inhaler that ignited in a shopping centre toilet.

The 27-year-old, from Preston, was arrested this morning at an address in the town.

He is currently in custody being held on suspicion of Arson with Intent to Endanger Life.

Shoppers had to be evacuated from the Fishergate Shopping Centre in Preston, Lancashire, after a member of the public found the device in the toilets at around 9.10am yesterday.


Lancashire Police said they are treating the incident as a criminal investigation.

Bomb disposal officers were called to the Fishergate centre after management evacuated it as a precaution.

Police said they believe the incendiary device made from an asthma inhaler and a firelighter had ignited and could have caused "damage or injury".

The recovered device is now being analysed and appears to be a "crude improvised incendiary device".

A spokesman said: "While we believe the device had ignited, it did not cause any real damage and there were no injuries."

"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.

The Fishergate centre is open as normal today.

Centre manager Keith Mitchell said staff had carried out a routine evacuation procedure and had worked closely with the emergency services.

He said: "The safety of our customers, colleagues and staff is paramount and centre staff carried out our evacuation procedure calmly and efficiently.

"We would like to thank all our customers for their help, understanding and patience and the emergency services for their professionalism during this incident.

Anyone with information should contact police on 101 quoting log number 293 of December 17, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


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