Feeds

Chaos in Sussex as 'bat monitor' mistaken for bomb

al-Qaeda jugular strike against A23 feared

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Twitchy coppers brought paralysis to the roads and evacuated villagers from their homes after a piece of bat-detecting equipment was mistaken for a deadly terrorist bomb.

Presumably fearing that al-Qaeda had cunningly switched focus from central London to rural Sussex - perhaps in a bold attempt to lay Crawley under the heel of jihadi justice - local plods closed both lanes of the A23 at Pease Pottage and the A272 at Bolney for several hours, according to a report in The Argus. The Horsham Road at Handcross was also shut and traffic diversions set up. Drivers were advised to avoid the area because of traffic gridlock, and dozens of local residents had to take sanctuary in the parish hall.

Apparently the security operation was triggered by "a well-intentioned call by a member of the public," who had seen a suspicious package concealed under a bridge over the A23. An Army bomb-disposal unit was tasked in support of the police, and according to the Argus "blew up the package." However, Sussex police are quoted as saying that the soldiers had merely disrupted it, which does seem more plausible. It is routine for suspicious items to be shot with waterjet disruptors if robot cameras can't positively identify them as harmless.

It seems that this one really was harmless, however. The Highways Agency confirmed that it was "a bat box placed on the bridge as part of an ecological survey in advance of a roads scheme," rather than an infernal machine deployed by dark forces.

"We are working on ways to improve identification of our property to avoid a repeat of today's incident."

Sheila Wright, the secretary of Sussex Bat Group*, said: "We believe it was a bat detector and positive monitoring system."

Apparently the monitoring device was intended to check up on microchiroptera hanging around the bridge by monitoring their calls. It was worth £1,000 according to the Argus.

In keeping the good citizens of Sussex safe from a disabling terrorist infrastructure strike, the security forces seem to have temporarily disabled the local infrastructure to some degree: but that's normal. More seriously, the county's defences against the winged-bloodsucker threat have been seriously undermined.®

*Of course there's a Sussex Bat Group.

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.