M6 Toll shut for 5 hours

Armed police stopped a coach travelling on the M6 Toll in the West Midlands on Thursday the 5th of July after a passenger raised the alarm saying they saw vapour coming from a bag which turned out to be an electric cigarette.

Staffordshire Police released a statement saying: "Staffordshire Police supported by multi agency partners responded to a genuine report from a member of the public. 

Given the credibility of the information we received, we responded swiftly and proportionately. We can now confirm that, whilst this was a genuine security alert, the significant concerns reported to us were unfounded. 

The information received concerned a report of vapour escaping from a bag which on investigation turned out to be a health improvement aid for smokers. 

It's important to state that no criminal offence has been committed and no passenger or any other member of the public is being treated as a suspect. 

We would like to take this opportunity to thank passengers for their patience, cooperation and support. 

The coach has now been moved, the M6 Toll has now been reopened the passengers have been moved onto another bus and their property returned 

We are liaising closely with the coach company, megabus.com, to ensure that their welfare needs ? including onward or return journeys ? are supported. 

Our utmost priority was the safety and security of the public and whilst on this occasion the incident was resolved peacefully without event, we want to encourage the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity. 

We would like to apologise for any inconvenience and hope that the public understand that we have our duty to safeguard public safety."

The Highways Agency confirmed that the motorway had been closed in both directions from T1 to the M6 11a. It was expected to be shut until at least mid-afternoon.

Forty-eight passengers were taken off after the driver stopped on the hard shoulder.

The coach is operated by Megabus and was heading south from Preston to London when it stopped, a spokeswoman for the company said.

"We are assisting police with their inquiries into an allegation made against a passenger who was travelling on board one of our services," she said.

The incident on the M6 came just hours after an unrelated operation in which five men and a woman were arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism down in London and taken to a police station in the south-east of the capital where they remain in custody.

In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said: "Public safety remains our overriding concern."