Greater Manchester Police were called to a shopping centre in Bolton after a man wearing a supportive back brace was mistaken for suicide bomber.
Hinesh Vegad, 25, praised the officers for their sensible and friendly attitude after he ‘sparked a terror alert’ when shopping in Westhoughton on Wednesday.
A concerned member of the public phoned authorities saying they had seen an ‘Asian man wearing body armour which was packed at the bottom with wires hanging out’.
When police officers arrived at the scene, Hinesh was no longer there.
Fortunately for him, one of his friends spoke to investigators and explained that Vegad had fractured his back after an unlucky paintballing session and was walking with a huge brace around his torso.
Vegad, from Heaton, Bolton, praised police officers for their sensible and friendly attitude when they later visited him at his home, and posed together for a photograph that he posted on Facebook.
He told a local radio station: “I had no idea what was going on until I received a phone call from police explaining that they’d received reports of a man acting suspiciously.
“Luckily they had spoken to my friend who works in a sandwich shop when they arrived on the high street to warn people. She told them that it was me and that I wear a back brace for my injury, and passed my contact details on.
“Looking back, I can totally see the funny side of the situation, but that’s because it was handled correctly. The police officers were friendly.”
He added: “It was all in the interest and safety of the public and I couldn’t fault anything they [GMP] did.
“When they saw me they were mainly concerned about me avoiding this happening again.
“The brace sits very high above my shoulders because I have a high fracture, so wearing a jacket or jumper is near enough impossible.”
He revealed more details about the astonishing incident on his Facebook page.
He posted: “Friendly visit from these bobbies today after nipping into Westhoughton for some lunch and triggering the police to dispatch a team to find me around Bolton, all thanks to two member of the public for ringing 999 as they had spotted an ‘Asian man wearing body armour which was packed at the bottom with wires hanging out.
“Thanks to Rebecca [his friend] for confirming to the police that it was in fact me they were looking for and it wasn’t a suicide vest…just a supportive back brace for an injury I picked up.
“I am now off the terror watchlist.”
Police confirmed the incident was quickly resolved and that they responded to a report of ‘concerns about a man in Westhoughton town centre’.