Glasgow & West Scotland

Lennon parcel bomb 'appalling act' says David Cameron

David Cameron and Neil Lennon
Image caption David Cameron condemned the bomb threats to Neil Lennon

David Cameron has described parcel bombs being sent to Celtic manager Neil Lennon and two prominent supporters of the club as "an appalling act".

The prime minister, who is visiting Scotland ahead of next month's Holyrood election, said police would be given every help to catch those involved.

The devices were addressed to Mr Lennon, Paul McBride QC and former Labour MSP Trish Godman.

Police described them as "viable" and designed to "kill or maim".

Mr Cameron told the BBC: "Any assistance the Strathclyde Police need the Strathclyde Police shall get because this is an absolutely appalling act.

"The most important thing is that the police pursue it with every piece if vigour they have and get to grips and find the person who is responsible for it and [ensure] they are severely punished.

'Appalling sectarianism'

He added: "It is a reminder of the appalling sectarianism that exists in some people's minds, even as we actually deal with it quite effectively in Northern Ireland, it's still a problem and it must be sought out and crushed."

The devices sent to Mr Lennon, Mr McBride and Ms Godman were found at various locations in the west of Scotland.

The first device was intercepted by the Royal Mail in Kirkintilloch, East Dunbartonshire, on 26 March and was addressed to Mr Lennon at Celtic's training ground in nearby Lennoxtown.

Two days later, a device was delivered to Labour politician Ms Godman's constituency office in Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire. Her staff were suspicious and contacted Strathclyde Police.

The third package was addressed to Mr McBride at the Faculty of Advocates in Edinburgh.

It is believed to have been posted in Ayrshire, before being found in a letter box by a postal worker on Friday and taken to a Royal Mail sorting office in Kilwinning, where police were contacted.

Detectives are also investigating another package addressed to Neil Lennon which was found at a sorting office in Saltcoats, North Ayrshire, on 4 March but this has not been confirmed as an explosive device.

Security advice

The developments represent a serious escalation in threats to Celtic employees in recent months.

Lennon, and players Paddy McCourt and Niall McGinn, all three of whom are Catholics from Northern Ireland, were sent bullets through the post earlier this year.

Strathclyde Police confirmed that extra security was put in place for those Celtic board members and players who were at Rugby Park on Wednesday night for the club's SPL match against Kilmarnock.

The force confirmed that security advice had been given to members of the board and high-profile supporters.

Strathclyde Police also confirmed that an investigation was ongoing into pages on social networking sites which hosted offensive or threatening material aimed at the Celtic manager.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that a live bullet was sent to the official residence of Scotland's most senior Roman catholic, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, ahead of the Pope's visit to Scotland last year.

The incident, which has not being linked to the parcel bomb or bullet threats to Celtic-related figures, was not reported at the time.

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