One thing in particular caught the eye of the policeman as he walked past a Ford Corsair parked near Scotland Yard: it had a new number plate, even though the vehicle was rusting and had clearly seen better days.
Peering through the window on that spring morning, the officer saw something else to concern him — the inside was spotless, as if it had just been valeted, and on the rear seat was a large, bulky holdall and nothing else.
This was 1973, Ted Heath was prime minister and Roberta Flack’s Killing Me Softly was top of the charts. It was also the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland — and an alert had recently been issued of an impending IRA attack on mainland Britain. Sensibly, the officer promptly radioed the bomb squad.
The area was evacuated and bomb disposal experts managed to defuse the massive device inside the holdall. It was primed to detonate at 2.50pm that day, not long after it had been made safe.