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Wednesday, 17 October, 2001, 11:39 GMT 12:39 UK
Letter threats were 'cruel hoax'
Fife Constabulary headquarters
Fife Constabulary received one of the packages
Police have confirmed that a suspect package sent to St Andrews University was a "cruel hoax".

The parcel was one of six sent to locations in Fife, including the area's police headquarters in Glenrothes.

White powder was found in A5-sized packages which also contained letters warning of the anthrax bacterium.

Test have now been completed on two of the six parcels which were received on Tuesday.

It is now a question of business as usual with restrictions being lifted at all the venues involved

Assistant Chief Constable David Mellor
Fife Constabulary said that the packets delivered to St Andrews University and the police headquarters had both proven negative for anthrax.

"Further tests will be carried out on these substances to establish their make-up but we are now convinced that these incidents were part of an elaborate but cruel hoax," said Assistant Chief Constable David Mellor.

He said it was expected that tests on the other four parcels would also prove to be negative.

"It is now a question of business as usual with restrictions being lifted at all the venues involved," he said.

"But clearly everyone should remain firmly on their guard, reporting immediately any suspicions they might have on receipt of any unusual packages via the mail or other means.

"Proper caution is always recommended and vigilance, the most important precaution which can ever be deployed to deal with this type of situation, is vitally important."

St Andrews University
A package sent to St Andrews was tested
A total of 21 people underwent a course of antibiotics following the incidents.

Detectives believe packages found at St Andrews University were part of an ongoing campaign by Scottish republican extremists angered by Prince William studying at the Fife campus.

No connection has been made between the Scottish packages and those found elsewhere in the UK, or anthrax discoveries in the US following the attacks on Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Lothian and Borders Police are still analysing a suspicious package which was sent to The Scotsman newspaper offices in Edinburgh.

Nine members of staff were taken to hospital and given antibiotics as a precaution following the incident on Tuesday.

A suspect package was also taken away for examination in central Scotland on Tuesday.

Some 20 people were evacuated after it was found at the offices of the Central Scotland Racial Equality Council in Park Street, Falkirk.

See also:

16 Oct 01 | Scotland
Police play down letter threats
13 Oct 01 | Health
Doctors given anthrax advice
12 Oct 01 | Health
Anthrax: A widespread threat?
26 Sep 01 | Health
NHS plans germ war response
10 Oct 01 | UK Politics
Anthrax fears played down
15 Oct 01 | Health
Q&A: Anthrax
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