Hairdressers in terror alert

ANTI-terror police are quizzing hundreds of hairdressers in Suffolk to see if they are storing peroxide which the authorities fear could be used to make a terrorist bomb.

Ross Bentley

ANTI-terror police are quizzing hundreds of hairdressers in Suffolk to see if they are storing peroxide which the authorities fear could be used to make a terrorist bomb.

The inquiry which involves checking every salon in the county is to find out how much of the chemical - which is used in hair bleaching - is being stored and if it is being kept in a safe place.

Barbers and stylists are being asked where they get their supplies from, how much they use, where it is kept and if their premises have CCTV or are fitted with a burglar alarm.


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The hairdressers are also being urged to report any theft of peroxide to police immediately.

But busy Sudbury barber Lee Haynes said: "I thought it was a wind-up when I got a phone call and they said they were involved in a police anti-terrorism check.

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“They wanted to know how much peroxide I had got on the premises and whether it was kept under lock and key.

“We hardly use the stuff here but I was told that unless I gave full details they would send an officer round to check."

The chemical is part of the colouring or bleaching process but most women's salons - where it is most commonly used - would probably get through less than a litre a week

A spokesman for Suffolk police defended the survey being carried out under the guidance of the force's counter-terrorism unit.

He said: "Peroxide is a chemical that can be used in the preparation of explosives so the survey is to find out how it is being kept and if it is being stored securely."

The peroxide used for hair bleaching is a key ingredient in the production of acetone peroxide - a highly explosive substance, which has been identified in explosive devices in a number of cases involving terrorists.

Shoe-bomber Richard Reid, who attempted to down American Airlines Flight 63 with a bomb concealed in his shoe, possessed a device containing plastic explosive with an acetone peroxide trigger.

It is also believed that acetone peroxide was used as the explosive in the July 7, 2005, London bombings.

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