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Sunday, 11 November, 2001, 12:28 GMT
New leads in hunt for bombers
Detective Chief Superintendent Ellie Baker
Detective Chief Superintendent Ellie Baker at the scene
Police are sifting through about 1,000 questionnaires completed in Birmingham city centre on Saturday night after staging a reconstruction of last weekend's failed bomb attempt.

Officers also revealed that several people have come forward with new information that could prove vital to the inquiry.

More than 400 officers were on the streets of the city in what police described as a "high visibility" operation to reassure the public and deter further attacks.

Detectives parked the gold-coloured Audi coupe, registration E303 TOV, in exactly the same spot on Smallbrook Queensway which was chosen by the bombers on 3 November.

We want to hear from any dealers who were approached by a man or two men offering a small amount of cash and not bothered about the type of car

Detective Chief Superintendent Ellie Baker

The device, weighing about 30 kg, failed to go off when the detonator exploded.

Detective Chief Superintendent Ellie Baker, of West Midlands Police, said: "We have already identified a small number of people who have specific information about the events of last Saturday which could be very useful to our inquiries.

"There was a real sense that the pubic wanted to help us."

Speaking to BBC News Online about events on 3 November, DCS Baker said: "Ten thousand people were evacuated from the area.

"We think that a quarter of the city centre could have been taken out."

She said the investigating team was anxious to fill a "crucial black hole" in terms of sightings of the car.

Officers know the car was bought in Walsall on the same day and was later seen near junction 10 of the M6.

Forensic analysis

But she said detectives wanted to know if the car had come down the A41 into the city or the A34.

Officers are also anxious to hear from second-hand car dealers in the West Midlands.

DCS Baker "We want to hear from any dealers who were approached by a man or two men offering a small amount of cash and not bothered about the type of car."

The two occupants of the Audi walked away from the car in the direction of Hurst Street after parking the car in Smallbrook Queensway.

Forensic analysis of the car was still at an early stage but DCS Baker said police had several positive leads although she could not give further details.

West Midlands police have also released CCTV footage of the moment when the detonator exploded.

The bomb is thought to have been the work of the dissident Republican group, the Real IRA.

Birmingham was the target of a terror campaign in 1974 when the IRA bombed two pubs, killing 21 people and injuring more than 160.

See also:

06 Nov 01 | England
Bomb blast footage released
06 Nov 01 | England
Extra security for bomb shops
05 Nov 01 | England
Bomb car bought on same day
05 Nov 01 | England
Catholic leader's 'horror' at bomb
05 Nov 01 | England
Hunt for Birmingham bombers
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