Anti-terrorism police have been called in to investigate the use of an IED which was used to blow up a Ulez camera sending burning pieces of shrapnel flying through a London neighbourhood.
Residents living close to the blast zone in Sidcup have described the blast as ‘deafening’ akin to a ‘bomb going off’.
Police say the attack – which occurred on Wednesday in Sidcup – was a deliberate act carried out with a ‘low-sophistication’ IED.
IEDs were commonly used to attack British soldiers in Iraq in Afghanistan with bombs placed by roadsides and in buildings being searched.
Since their rollout in August, Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ cameras have been routinely targeted by vandals known as ‘Blade Runners’ who object to new fees for non-compliant cars.
Residents living close to the blast zone in Sidcup have described the blast as ‘deafening’ akin to a ‘bomb going off’
Tents were erected at the scene while police officers continued their investigation following the blast
Forensic officers are pictured at the scene of the explosion on Thursday
Several vehicles were damaged during the explosion, which reportedly sent shrapnel flying
Police have said the attack is not being treated as terrorism but warned the attack could have left members of the public ‘very seriously injured’.
Shocking video of the aftermath of the explosion shows the quiet street littered with debris and a nearby van shredded by the intensity of the blast.
The explosion was deafening and at first I thought it was some sort of bomb that had gone off.
It was lucky there was no one walking by at the time
Officers from Counter Terrorism Command are now leading the investigation due to their expertise in in explosives.
A criminal investigation has been launched and dozen forensic officers carried out a finger tip search at the scene.
Detective Chief Superintendent Trevor Lawry, Commander for the Bexley area said: ‘Thankfully, nobody was injured as a result of this incident, but it is extremely concerning that an explosive device seems to have been deliberately placed in a public place.
‘This could have very easily resulted in members of the public being very seriously injured.
‘Because of the seriousness of this incident, we are making urgent enquiries to try and identify anyone involved, and officers with specialist expertise and capability from our Counter Terrorism Command are leading the investigation.
‘This was an extremely dangerous incident that could have resulted in innocent members of the public being injured or worse. If you have any information that could assist our investigation, then I would urge you to get in touch immediately.’
Police launched the investigation after a ULEZ camera exploded in a residential street, sending shrapnel into vehicles and homes.
CCTV shows the moment the camera goes up in flames, causing sparks and debris to rain down and damage nearby vehicles and houses.
The camera was allegedly cut down just hours after being erected at lunchtime on Wednesday
Police, firefighters and forensic officers rushed to the incident in Sidcup on Wednesday night
A section of the road has been cordoned off by police today as the investigation continues
Officers were called to a residential street in Sidcup, south-east London on Wednesday evening following reports that a ULEZ camera had blown up.
Police attended the scene at 6.47pm, along with firefighters. Nobody was injured in the explosion.
According to locals, the camera was ‘cut down’ within a few hours of being installed, and later exploded. The Met Police is considering whether the blast was caused by an ‘explosive device’, it has been reported.
No arrests have been made but enquiries are ongoing and the Met has asked anyone with relevant information which could assist the investigation to get in touch.
A section of the road has been cordoned off by police today as the investigation continues.
Each end of the cordon is being guarded by uniformed officers, who are giving members of the public alternative routes and escorting residents in and out.
Two yellow police tents have been pitched with crime scene investigators in blue boiler suits on the scene.
A 32-year-old construction worker, who asked not to be named, said the electrical power box attached to the camera ended up at the rear of his black van.
Debris could be seen on the road after the explosion, shortly before 7pm
A dozen forensic officers carried out a fingertip search around the ULEZ camera
A hole was punctured in the side of his Citroen van by the explosion, which was newly purchased as his other work vehicle was non-ULEZ compliant.
A wooden fence was also damaged by flying shrapnel as well as passing car that suffered damage to one of his front panels.
The resident said: ‘When I got home from work I noticed the camera had been chopped down. It had only been up a few hours before it was vandalised.
‘I was in the house when I heard a huge bang. I went outside and saw the hole in the side of my van.
‘I can’t believe that this has happened. I only bought the van a few months ago as my other one doesn’t comply with ULEZ.
‘I don’t know who is going to pay for the repairs or what my insurance company will say.’
He added: ‘I am totally opposed to the ULEZ expansion. If I did not change my van, it would cost me £400 a month just to get to work.
‘But someone could have been killed by the explosion. I don’t if it was a homemade device going off or something electrical.’
Residents have not been told what caused the explosion – but the number of police at the scene has led to speculation that it was a homemade bomb
One resident said their three-year-old child’s room was strewn with debris following the explosion, which smashed several windows
No arrests have been made but enquiries are ongoing, police said
A dozen forensic officers carried out a fingertip search around the ULEZ camera as the investigation continued.
Several plastic yellow markers had been placed along the road where pieces of shrapnel from the explosion landed.
Residents have not been told what caused the explosion – but the number of police at the scene has led to speculation that it was a homemade bomb.
Detectives carried out house to house inquiries and seized CCTV from doorbell cameras as part of their investigation.
One resident said: ‘The police have been in and taken all my footage from the camera. It caught it all.
‘Everyone in the road heard this big explosion. It felt like the house was shaking.
‘I think we knew the camera had been cut down and one of my neighbours said they had seen sparks coming out from it.
‘Bu with so many police around you have to wonder if it is something else that caused the explosion. It was so loud it sounded like a bomb going off.’
Local residents reported debris littered their homes after the explosion – but no injuries were reported
According to locals, the camera was ‘cut down’ within six hours of being installed, and then exploded around 90 minutes later
ad remained sealed off to traffic and pedestrians there was no sign of any power company attending the scene.
Police had erected two blue tents in the road while the forensic teams in blue boiler suits were on their hands and knees sifting through the front gardens looking for evidence.
One local resident said she was putting her young child to bed when the explosion rocked her home which is just outside the cordoned off area.
She said: ‘It really felt like the whole house was shaking. I thought it might be a wardrobe falling over, but then I looked out the window and there were others outside.
‘It is really quite frightening and nothing like this has ever happened.’
Another neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: ‘This is usually a very busy road with people walking their dogs. It is just a miracle that no one was injured.
‘The noise of the explosion was loud. I’ve never heard anything like it and it scared me quite a bit.
‘I do hope whoever did this gets caught before some innocent person is injured.’
Police have said road will remain closed until the forensic teams have completed their work tonight.
Residents near Willersley Avenue reported hearing a ‘loud bang’ shortly before 7pm last night.
In a post on Facebook locals claimed the explosion had damaged two vehicles and shattered the windows of a nearby property.
He Lia wrote: ‘My neighbour’s windows shattered as it’s right outside, as did my three-year-old’s room [windows] with debris and shrapnel everywhere.’
Another social media user said their child, also three, was ‘traumatised’ by the incident.
The resident claimed the camera was installed around midday and blew up just six-and-a-half hours later, adding: ‘I’ve been told there is considerable impact and force for the level of shattering across his room and the shrapnel stuck in the structures.
‘Things have gone through our neighbours’ cars. Is this humanity?
‘Whether the camera itself is dangerous or the people who don’t like it. My poor child and neighbours are the victims!’
One anonymous commenter claimed the camera blew up when someone cut it down – causing the electrical box to explode. This has not been confirmed.
They said the debris hit a passing car, a stationary van and a wall, and narrowly missed a bus.
Another local, Anna Newman, compared the noise to that of a Second World War bomb exploding, writing: ‘Heard it in Welling. What the hell did they blow it up with? Sounded like a Second World War bomb being disposed of!’
The latest figures show that almost 1,000 crimes relating to ULEZ cameras have been recorded by the Met Police.
This includes 220 reports of cameras being stole and 767 cameras being damaged.
More than 2,800 cameras have been installed as part of the ULEZ expansion scheme that came into force earlier this year.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: ‘Police were called to Willersley Avenue, Sidcup at about 18:47hrs on Wednesday, 6 December following reports that a ULEZ camera had exploded.
‘Officers attended alongside colleagues in London Fire Brigade.
‘No one was injured. No arrests have been made and enquiries are ongoing.
‘Anyone with information that could assist with the investigation is encouraged to call 101 quoting CAD 5819/06DEC.
‘Similarly anyone who sees anyone or anything suspicious by or on a ULEZ camera should not approach and should contact police.’