A man police want to speak to in connection with an improvised explosive device at the Fishergate Centre was captured on CCTV at another Preston shopping centre.
Police have released footage of a man carrying a bag at the top of an escalator in St George’s Centre at 8.30am on Thursday, as part of their investigation into an IED found in the toilets at the Fishergate Centre at 9.10am.
The Fishergate Shopping Centre was locked down for hours and bomb disposal experts were called in, after the “crude” device went off in the men’s toilets.
Now a manhunt has been launched, and police have released CCTV footage of a “person of interest”.
Army bomb disposal experts, who made a 50-mile dash from their base in Chester, deployed a remote controlled robot to search the shopping mall as police revealed the device had been planted deliberately with the intention of endangering life.
The alarm was raised just after 9am when the incendiary ignited and was quickly extinguished by a member of the public.
Centre staff ordered a full evacuation, and police said: “The safety of the public is our top priority.”
Officers examined CCTV footage and have released footage of a man they would like to speak to about the incident.
Detective Chief Inspector Jill Johnston, of Preston Police, said: “We are keen to speak to the man in this CCTV as we believe he could have information which could assist us.
“We are treating this as a criminal investigation and while the motivation for this incident remains unclear at this stage, we believe this device has been left there deliberately and did have the potential to cause serious injury if it had exploded.
“I would appeal to anyone who recognises this man, or who has any other information which could assist to get in touch with us.”
Anyone with information should contact police on 101 quoting log number 293 of Thursday or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.