Two Daily Mirror journalists were today released on bail after being arrested for allegedly planting a “fake bomb” on a train as part of an expose of British transport security.
The pair were arrested last night at Stonebridge Park depot at the northern end of the Bakerloo Line in north west London.
They were caught carrying their “bomb” by railway staff who asked what they were doing on the premises and then called the British Transport Police.
The Mirror said they were testing out security in a “legitimate and justified journalistic exercise” after managing to plant a fake bomb on a nuclear train last year.
A Mirror spokesman said: “Last year, Mirror journalists attempted and succeeded in planting a fake bomb on a nuclear train, which highlighted serious security lapses.
“We therefore felt that it was a legitimate and justified journalistic exercise to repeat the action in the interests of public safety.
“We are happy to see that the security procedures have now improved.”
A BTP spokeswoman confirmed two men had been arrested at the depot on suspicion of trespass and were taken to a nearby police station.
Officers were still searching the depot and the men have not yet been charged with any offence, she added.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defence said: “We are aware that the British Transport Police have arrested two men following a report of trespass. Clearly, security is a top priority.”
Today’s incident is the latest in a series of exposes carried out by the Mirror to test out the security of trains.
A journalist planted a fake bomb on an unguarded train at Didcot Parkway Station in January, sparking a review of security arrangements for Defence Ministry trains.
The train, parked in sidings at the station, was reportedly packed with Army explosives when a reporter planted the fake bomb after walking off a public platform and crossing a high-speed train line to enter a secure yard.
It was said to have been delivering ordnance intended for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to a Royal Navy transport ship at Marchwood, Hampshire.
Six months earlier, the paper ran a similar story involving trains carrying nuclear waste to Sellafield.
The paper described how its reporter Tom Parry wandered up to unattended wagons at Direct Rail Services’ Brent yard in north west London and planted a device on a train in the sidings.
It said his only identification as a legitimate rail worker was a fluorescent orange jacket and hard hat, on sale at any builders’ merchants.
It is believed that Parry was one of the men arrested in today’s incident.