#ThrowbackThursday: Bomb scare for Harrogate over animal rights

An army bomb disposal expert manoeuvres the remote controlled robot.
An army bomb disposal expert manoeuvres the remote controlled robot.

It’s been just over 30 years since Harrogate’s peace  was shattered by a bomb scare in a nationwide  animal rights related terror attack.

In January 1986, Harrogate police were alerted to reports that animal rights campaigners had planted devices in towns across the county.

Insp Graham Smith who co-ordinated the police operation at the scene.

Insp Graham Smith who co-ordinated the police operation at the scene.

Police began making extensive enquiries at Hazleton Laboratory off Otley Road(now Covance) after a group calling themselves the Animal Rights Militia claimed responsibility for an attack on a Harrogate home.

Shortly after the group made the claims, Director at Hazleton and leading scientist, Dr Alan Armitage, raised the alarm that a suspect package had been found on his doorstep on Almsford Avenue, Harrogate.

Five police forces teamed up in one of the biggest police operations the county had ever seen, with the operation at the scene in Harrogate led by Insp Graham Smith.

Employees at the laboratory were put on red alert, and a number of houses on the estate just off Leeds road were evacuated.

The surrounding roads were sealed off and a remote controlled robot was used to perform a controlled explosion.

The device was later taken away for testing.

Forensic experts confirmed the package, which had been concealed in a box and black plastic bag, was indeed a bomb.