The highway was cordoned off and a bus evacuated as a result of reports of "suspicious activity" due to vapor coming from a passenger's bag.
Seems the U.K. is a little on edge, with the Olympics only a couple of weeks away. Police received a "genuine report" from a person saying that they had seen vapor emanating from the bag of a fellow passenger on the bus, which was traveling from Preston to London and was nearing the M6 toll plaza at Weeford in western England.
Police then cordoned off sections of the highway and passengers were evacuated from the bus. Apparently some passengers reported being led off the bus at gunpoint. Everyone was thoroughly frisked by officers wearing decontamination suits and made to sit in a small area on the opposite side of the highway for about an hour.
Media reports state that the bus was surrounded by ambulances, fire engines, bomb disposal units, police dog handlers and military personnel, and apparently the M6 toll road was shut down for over five hours.
After a thorough investigation, it was discovered that the vapor coming from the passenger's bag was produced by an electronic cigarette. These are used by persons trying to gradually kick the smoking habit and apparently one pours a special liquid, consisting of water, propylene glycol, nicotine and other ingredients into the device, which produces a vapor. This vapor apparently has no smell, unlike a normal cigarette.
British police have now apologized for any inconvenience caused by the dramatic security response and express hope that the public will understand that such efforts are necessary to ensure public safety.
A police spokesman stated, “We can now confirm that, whilst this was a genuine security alert, the significant concerns reported to us were unfounded.”
British police have been on high alert in the run-up to the London Olympics, scheduled to begin on July 27. Media reports say that the current terror level in Britain is considered "substantial", which is the third of five possible levels, meaning that there is a strong possibility of a terrorist attack occurring in the country.
Jonathan Evans, director general of MI5, Britain’s domestic security service reportedly said, “There is no such thing as guaranteed security. But I think we shall see a successful and memorable Games.”