the People Newspaper - December 2010
Following the 'printer bombs' attempted terrorist attack on airlines we were contacted by a man who had found a number of regularly discarded printers which had suspicious white powder in them.
We sold the story to The People newspaper and helped them get in touch with the anti-terrorist police.
Our source was very well paid for the story and the investigation is ongoing.Printer Bomb ScareThe sinister discovery of 20 dumped printers with an ink cartridge part missing from each one was being probed by anti-terror cops last night after a tip-off from The People.
Disturbingly, one of the machines was contaminated with white powder.
The find has sparked fears of a connection to the ink bombs sent by al-Qaeda terrorists in Yemen last week which contained PETN explosive – a devastating white powder.
A worker at the Soltra apartments complex in Salford Quays, Manchester, found the brand-new printers dumped in a bin shed for one of the blocks.
He took them home hoping to sell them on but discovered the SAME part – a component which connects to the ink cartridge – was mysteriously missing from each.
And when the man's wife was cleaning one of the Epson B300 and B-310N Business inkjet printers she found white powder inside. The couple were alarmed when ink cartridge bombs primed to explode in mid-air were found at East Midlands airport and Dubai.
Last night anti-terror cops attached to Greater Manchester Police collected the printers after being alerted by The People at the request of the worker.
A police source said: "We are taking this matter extremely seriously."
The 42-year-old worker, who has asked not to be identified, found the printers dumped in ones and twos over six weeks starting in September. The machines, costing up to £200 each, were still in their original packaging complete with instructions.
The worker said: "I took the printers away because it was obvious nobody wanted them, which was strange, because they all looked completely brand new.
"They would appear once or twice a week, sometimes one on its own, sometimes two together, hidden in a part of the bin sheds used by the residents of the Soltra Apartments.
"A friend of mine who is a computer expert took a look at them and said they were all missing a certain component which attaches to the ink cartridge."
Some also had parts which had been loosened.
Then one night his partner made another strange discovery. The man said: "She found a white powder not unlike talcum powder inside a printer.
"She quickly washed her hands and got rid of the substance. It had no odour." The baffled couple stored the printers in their cellar but alarm bells ran when the ink bomb plot – believed to have been launched by al-Qaeda suspect Ibrahim al-Asiri – was uncovered 10 days ago.
The man said: "I got worried when I realised someone has tampered with the same part of these printers which the Yemen terrorists had used."
Terrorism expert Neil Doyle, author of Terror Base UK, said: "The discovery of these items is a worrying development.
"It could mean terror cells in Britain are looking at using the same bomb-making techniques as those in Yemen.
"It is of major significance and needs to be investigated immediately."
Mr Doyle added: "PETN is the explosive of choice at the moment because of its power and the difficulties there are in detecting it. It would in appearance look similar to talcum powder."
Greater Manchester Police confirmed last night they are investigating.