Ten years ago ... Boston Market Place evacuated after air freshener sparks bomb scare

Deserted - Officers make sure the Market Place is kept clear while bomb disposal experts look at the 'suspicious package'.
Deserted - Officers make sure the Market Place is kept clear while bomb disposal experts look at the 'suspicious package'.

An air freshener thought to be a suspicious package by police and bomb disposal experts caused a stink at Boston’s Royal Air Force Freedom of the Borough Parade 10 years ago.

The parade and flypast was halted after the discovery was made in a BT telephone box about 45 minutes before it was due to start.

How we covered the incident at the time.

How we covered the incident at the time.

Shops were evacuated, the area cordoned off and passers-by were ordered out of the Market Place while police and an Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) team destroyed the air freshener with three controlled explosions.

“It was an air freshener device which is fitted to some BT telephone boxes,” a police spokesman said. “Unfortunately neither the police nor the bomb disposal team recognised what it was.”

He added: “But we make no apologises for what we did – we always have to err on the side of caution. The public’s safety is paramount.

“We would like to thank the people of Boston for their cooperation.”

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said the air freshener was zip-tied to the telephone and there were no others in nearby boxes.

“They did ring BT but they said they did not know what they (EOD) were on about,” she added.

“They offered to send an engineer. The police did the right thing by calling EOD. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

A spokesman for BT said the firm has been putting air fresheners in some enclosed payphones around the country for a number of years.

The parade was meant to be a celebration of RAF Coningsby being handed the freedom of the borough by Boston Borough Council in 1963.

Borough council chief executive Mick Gallagher told The Standard: “It’s a shame because a lot of people had come out to see the parade.

“But we understand that the safety of everybody has to be put first. “However, we are sure the Freedom march will go ahead. It may take a while to get organised again but it’s the correct thing to do.”

Ted Christopher, of Tattershall Road, was among the hundreds of shoppers stood behind the cordon.

He said: “I heard the loud explosions – they sounded like fireworks.”

Shopper Norman Thornton had come in from Skegness to do his shopping.

He said: “The blasts were loud. It made the pigeons all fly up.”