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'Suspicious package' sent to Beckenham MP Bob Stewart sparking police cordon turns out to be a gift

PUBLISHED: 11:24 06 July 2017 | UPDATED: 15:33 06 July 2017

Bob Stewart outside Beckenham Conservative Association

Bob Stewart outside Beckenham Conservative Association

Archant

Police were called just after midday on Wednesday

A security review is underway after a present sent to Beckenham’s MP sparked a police incident.

Police were called to the Beckenham Conservative Association on Church Avenue just after midday on Wednesday amid fears a package, reportedly addressed to Bob Stewart, was suspicious.

A cordon was set up around Church Avenue and The Drive for officers to investigate.

Upon inspection, officers realised the package was non-suspicious and the cordon was lifted by 3.30pm.

Mr Stewart, a retired army colonel who served in Northern Ireland and Bosnia, was not at the address, having been at Westminster on the day.

Conservative association chairman, Brian Cooke, has apologised “most sincerely” for the disruption caused.

He said: “Just before lunch a heavy shoe box size parcel was delivered to our offices addressed to Bob Stewart.

“It was postmarked from the north of England and had no identification from the sender, after consulting with the police anti-terrorism unit in London that deals with MP’s security, and confirming with Bob and his secretary that they were not expecting such a parcel, the police activated an agreed procedure for dealing with such items.

“Whilst we are very sorry for the inconvenience this caused I am very grateful for the calm and effective way the police and others dealt with the situation.

“We shall, naturally be reviewing our security in the light of this incident but it is hard to know how we can stop someone send our MP an unsolicited and innocent thank you present for helping them.”

Mr Cooke added “under the same circumstances, we would do it again”.

The present to the Tory MP, who has served the constituency since 2010, is still a mystery, but we understand that despite the shape of the box, the gift was not a pair of shoes.

Following the incident, Shortlands police tweeted to thank “Marks and Spencer’s Beckenham for providing bottles of cold water to officers while dealing with the incident.”

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