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‘Suspicious item’ that led to chaos at a train station in U.K. turned out to be a weed grinder in the shape of a grenade

Nov 1, 2022 | Media Partners, The GrowthOp

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Hundreds evacuated, all services suspended as passengers told to get “as far away from the building”

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A grenade-shaped cannabis grinder brought travel plans to a halt for more than an hour for hundreds of U.K. commuters on Oct. 31.

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A tweet from the British Transport Police (BTP) shortly before 4 p.m. local time noted officers were “currently responding to a report of a suspicious item on a platform at New Street,” in Birmingham, U.K., adding that, as a precaution, the station had been evacuated while the item was assessed.

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The police response followed National Rail issuing a security alert at the station at about 3.30 p.m., according to the Daily Mail.


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BBC reports the evacuation involved hundreds of commuters, meanwhile services in and out of the station were suspended. Alongside the BTP, it was reported that local ambulance, fire and police members were also present at the scene.

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Passengers were told to get “as far away from the building” as they could, MSN cites some social media users at the scene as relaying at the time.

As it turns out, there was no actual threat, although the grenade-shaped grinder found on a platform was scary enough to raise alarm and cause rush-hour chaos.

Images and video posted on social media showed big crowds within the station. According to Network Rail, 140,000-plus passengers use the station daily and “it is the busiest station outside London.”

Though the BTP tweet does not specify what was found, media reports cite BTP confirming the item was a grinder. A police tweet a little before 5 p.m. pointed out “the item has now been assessed by specialist officers and is no longer being treated as suspicious,” adding that the station was expected to reopen shortly.

Commuters were allowed back into the station to continue on their way, albeit with sometimes long delays over the remainder of the day, per the BBC.

As of mid-day Nov. 1, National Rail reported “reduced CrossCountry service through Birmingham today,” but did not say if that was due to the earlier scare.

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One inconvenienced commuter voiced her frustration but in the most reasonable and pleasant way. “Whoever dropped their grenade-shaped weed grinder at Birmingham New Street station and caused the whole station to close for a bomb scare, you owe me £32 for the driving lesson I had to miss.”

Recreational cannabis is illegal throughout the U.K.

Shockingly, it’s not the first time that a grenade-shape grinder wreaked havoc and sparked a transport-related evacuation.

Back in 2018, the Associated Press reported another grinder cleared out the Astor Piazzolla airport in Mar del Plata. “Photographs showed an officer in a bomb suit holding the grinder in his hand while colleagues looked at it and smiled,” according to AP.

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Two years earlier in Washington State, a grenade look-alike grinder temporarily shut down the Bellingham International Airport, Global News reported at the time. The same thing happened at the Sacramento International Airport, when a person was found with a weed-filled grenade grinder in his carry-on bag, according to The Cannabist.

Despite the obviousness of it all, the Transportation Security Administration noted in a travel tip that “anything resembling a grenade is prohibited in both carry-on and checked baggage. Especially if it’s a grenade-shaped grinder with marijuana inside.”

We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with feedback and story tips at thegrowthop@postmedia.com

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