Staff at The Hunts Post were faced with an unexpected interruption to press day when a bomb scare forced them to leave their offices – three hours before deadline.
In true newspaper fashion, when news of the alert broke their thoughts turned not to safety, but to the impending deadline.
But after being forced to spend two hours away from their desks while a controlled explosion took place, staff returned to put the finishing touches to the Archant-owned weekly paper.
And it went to press on schedule, unaffected apart from the late addition of a report on the scare.
Editor Paul Richardson said: “When we heard there was a bomb scare three hours before deadline the reaction of the staff, including journalists, proof-readers and advertising staff, was that we had got to get the paper out – so there was a slight reluctance to leave the building.
“But the police came in and we had to leave and move to the car park where we were able to watch the drama unfold.
“From there we had to use mobile phones to contact other departments such as the subbing team to let them know there would be no more stories coming through, and it was good to see them adapting to the situation.
“Everyone did a great job.”
The drama began after police received reports of an abandoned rucksack just outside The Hunts Post building.
After considering it to be a suspect package, the area was cordoned off and workers were evacuated from nearby businesses while bomb disposal experts carried out a controlled explosion with the help of a remote-controlled robot.
It later emerged that the bag had contained a leather-bound bible, a packet of peanuts and a chocolate bar.
Paul said: “A bomb alert is a scary thing to have happen outside your office, but in this case it was all under control and seemed to unfold efficiently.”
And although a full report on the incident appeared in the paper the following day, it didn’t make the front-page – losing out to a picture from St Neots carnival, which Paul decided would sell more papers.
He said: “If it had been a bomb we would have put it on the front page, but for most people the only disruption was being slightly diverted around the town centre.
“There were other stories that had wider repercussions and we had to put the story into context.
“But it did get almost a full page inside and we were able to provide better coverage than anybody else.”
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