The ‘New IRA’ has claimed responsibility for the bomb threat caused by a “suspicious” package which was sent to Oxford’s Army Careers Office in St Giles’ on Thursday. Packages were also sent to offices in Canterbury, Brighton and Slough.Whilst the origins of the packages could not be identified on Thursday, Downing Street said that they bore “the hallmarks of Northern Ireland-related terrorism”. David Cameron chaired a COBRA meeting in order to analyse the situation.A spokesperson for Scotland Yard said, “We are aware of the claim of responsibility for the devices that were sent to Army recruitment centres in England last week.“The claim was received on Saturday February 15 by a Northern Irish media outlet using a recognised codeword. The claim was allegedly made on behalf of the ‘IRA’.“The public is urged to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious to the Anti-Terrorist Hotline, 0800 789 321.”Whilst the IRA disbanded following the end to its armed campaignin 2005, the ‘New IRA’ was formed in the summer of 2012 after the Real IRA merged with two other dissident groups. Their latest victim was David Black, a Northern Ireland prison officer who was killed in November 2012.A statement reported by The Irish News and attributed to the New IRA reads, “The IRA claims responsibility for the explosive devices that were sent to British armed forces recruitment centres in England. Attacks will continue when and where the IRA see fit.”
Workers at the Hemel Hempstead plant of East Balt Guenther Bakeries are facing redundancy, six months after the Buncefield blast badly damaged the premises and made it inoperable.The factory had been making burger buns for McDonald’s for over 20 years. It was formerly known as Golden West and owned by RHM before being bought by its current owner in April last year. Since the blast, most of the Hemel Hempstead employees have been working at the firm’s plant in Heywood, Lancashire. Others have been at the Olen factory in Belgium. The firm has continued to meet all McDonald’s requirements under the new arrangements, but says it cannot continue to meet workers’ travel and accommodation costs. Hemel Hempstead employed over 100 staff. East Balt Guenther Bakeries hopes to build another bakery in the Hemel Hempstead area, but has yet to decide on a location.