Explosions, but no bomb
From reports of multiple explosions to a suspicious package found in the early hours, there were some strange happenings in the south of Canberra overnight.
Police this morning closed off a section of Tharwa Drive in Conder, cordoning off the area between Box Hill Avenue and Mentone View, after a suspicious package was discovered by a patrol about 3.45am.
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PHOTOS: Bomb squad on the scene
The Specialist Response and Security Bomb Response Team was called in to investigate the package, found towards the side of the road on Tharwa Drive, near Lanyon Market Place.
Following full safety procedures, the suspect device was inspected by the bomb squad's robot and by a team member in full protective gear. Police eventually declared the device as "rendered safe", and said they did not believe it was a bomb.
The road has since been re-opened. ACT Policing tweeted an apology for any inconvenience caused.
The additional care taken by police seems to be related to a series of loud bangs and explosions reported in the nearby suburb of Calwell overnight.
Residents of the area contacted The Canberra Times this morning, saying that between four and 10 loud explosions were heard around the neighbourhood late last night, possibly in conjunction with a motorcycle that could be heard travelling the streets of the suburb.
Police confirmed they received reports of the disturbances between 10pm and midnight last night.
A Calwell resident, who asked not to be named, said she had a series of about 10 explosions, which were so loud, that she thought the car parked in her driveway had exploded. Police said they have received similar reports of explosions from other residents in the area, which were believed to have taken place between 10pm and 12pm.
"There were two lots of two between 10pm and 11pm, and then another five or six between 11pm and 12pm at some stage, and then there was nothing,"
"As it progressed, you could tell they were more explosive rather than crackers or gunshots,"
"When I rang the police to report that, they said I wasn't the first one to report it, and they had a patrol car [already on its way],"
The resident said there had been a motorbike driving through the area at the same time, that seemed to be associated with the explosions.
Police are still investigating the cause of the explosions, but said the reports had given them cause for concern in Conder this morning.
Traffic was still moving slowly in the suburb as of late this morning after Tharwa Drive was reopened about 10.30am.
David Austin, principal of St Francis of Assissi Primary School in Calwell, said his usual seven-minute trip from his Conder home to work in Calwell took more than 35 minutes this morning.
"I couldn't get out of Conder, so I went all the way through Banks and Gordon, ending up on Woodcock Drive," he said.
with Christopher Knaus
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