**Update – 16/06/13**
Thames Valley Police, investigating this incident since Wednesday, said this morning that “the package is not being treated as suspicious and the incident is closed.” A spokeswoman said “we cannot speculate why the package was left somewhere where it was mistaken as a threat.”
Police and St Hugh’s confirmed late on Wednesday that the package never posed any danger; today’s statement also plays down speculation of malicious intent.
St Hugh’s have also released a statement saying “there is no cause for concern,” without elaborating on what there is no cause to have been concerned by.
Police and fire services have been called to St Hugh’s following the discovery of a “suspicious package”.
Large parts of the college have been cordoned off, and students evacuated, as a precuationary measure. A bomb disposal robot has now been seen entering the College grounds to deal with the suspect package, left outside the Maplethorpe Building in the centre of the grounds.
The Library, Kenyon and Wolfson buildings, as well as a number of houses on Woodstock Road have been evacuated.
A spokesperson for the college told Cherwell: ‘A suspect package was found on college grounds this morning and the police are dealing with the situation. As a precautionary measure we have taken this seriously and acted immediately to ensure people’s safety. Police and fire services were called and nearby buildings evacuated. When there is more information, we will provide it.’
William Golightly, a second year historian at St Hugh’s, told Cherwell: “At about 12.10pm I went out onto the lawns to play croquet with my friends. Suddenly I noticed several policemen appear on the lawns. For a minute I thought they were going to rugby tackle me, but they just shouted at us to ‘get back!’, and we evacuated elsewhere”.
In an email marked “Urgent”, the Academic registrar wrote:
“You may be aware that a suspect package is being investigated in College at the moment. A number of buildings have therefore been evacuated. If you have a University Examination this afternoon, and find yourself unable to return to your room to collect sub fusc, stationery etc, you should report to the College Office as soon as possible for advice.”
A member of staff said they suspected a hoax package rather than a genuine threat, but that the police attending were taking it serious as it looked very credible.
Thames Valley Police have released the following statement: “We were called at 11:32 am to St Hughs college after a member of staff reported a suspicious package on the lawn.”
The package was destroyed in two controlled explosions, which were accompanied by two ‘pop’ tests on site.
Thames Valley Police later released an updated statement saying: “There is no risk to the general public. College buildings have been evacuated, and a 100 metre radius has been cordoned off. Part of Woodstock Road is currently closed off at this stage. It is likely to be closed off for some time. The Royal logistics corps are currently in attendance dealing with the situation.”
Responses on Twitter
@TPAdams: Apparent bomb scare in St Hughs at the moment. Maplethorpe and Kenyon buildings evacuated.
@LadnyWilson: suspicious package found on lawn. Bomb squad in attendance. Finalists not happy.
@moose_moose_G: member of staff confirmed that a 2nd ‘controlled explosion’ will happen. Another hour at least before normality
@timrwilliams:Just heard what sounded like a controlled explosion from inside StHugh’s College, Oxford.
@janacahill: how big would the explosion have to be for a bomb-blast in St. Hugh’s to reach the rest of civilization?