Search

Mystery of Highgate explosions that go bang in the night is solved

08:15 17 April 2014

Mysterious Highgate explosions solved? local resident Alex Colias found a used flashbang and smoke grenade near the entrance to the tunnel on Parkland Walk. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Mysterious Highgate explosions solved? local resident Alex Colias found a used flashbang and smoke grenade near the entrance to the tunnel on Parkland Walk. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Grenades could be the cause of mystery “explosions” that have baffled residents in Highgate - and they pose a serious threat to a colony of bats roosting in abandoned railway tunnels.

A used smoke grenade cannister was found near the Highgate Tunnels Bat Project. Picture: Alex ColiasA used smoke grenade cannister was found near the Highgate Tunnels Bat Project. Picture: Alex Colias

Alex Colias found a flashbang - a non-lethal grenade - and a smoke grenade canister at the entrance to bat hibernation sites in the Highgate section of the Parkland Walk on Saturday.

The IT security consultant, who moved to Holmesdale Road, Highgate, last month, believes the canisters to be the source of loud bangs that have confounded residents for 18 months.

“I’ve heard the sounds about three or four times since I moved to the area, and it seemed to always come from the same direction,” the 36-year-old said.

“I thought it was going to be kids messing about with firecrackers, but noticing it’s actually in an area where they are trying to do conservation work with animals that are protected, that’s what got me more motivated to get it stopped.”

A 'grenade simulation device' was also found near the tunnels. Picture: Alex ColiasA 'grenade simulation device' was also found near the tunnels. Picture: Alex Colias

Mr Colias reported his discovery to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which has referred him to the Bat Conservation Trust.

Bats and their roosts are legally protected and disturbing them is a criminal offence.

The two canisters were pushed through the bars of a locked steel gate, designed to prevent anyone from getting too close to Haringey Council’s Highgate Tunnels Bat Project.

A spokesman from Natural England, a government body responsible for protecting the natural environment, warned that a smoke grenade could suffocate and kill the bats roosting in the disused Highgate railway tunnels.

While smoke grenades do not often cause loud bangs, grenade simulators - often used as a military training device - produce a very loud explosion sound.

When it was set off, the sound could have reverberated through the disused railway tunnels - perhaps explaining why explosion sounds have been heard over a large distance, from Muswell Hill and Crouch End to Shepherd’s Hill in Highgate.

The booming noises are said to be so loud that they cause houses to shake in their foundations and have been likened to a car bomb or gas explosion.

Officers from Haringey Police are to investigate, while Haringey Council staff will visit the site to see if they can find more canisters.

The council also confirmed that those running the bat project do not use smoke grenades or grenade simulators as part of their environmental work.

Mr Colias, a semi-professional photographer, added: “My main concern is for the animals. I’m sure someone’s not doing it maliciously.

“It’s likely they set off the explosion and then the bats fly out and it makes for a cool shot, that’s putting myself in their perspective.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 12:58
Nurul Islam celebrates at his Belsize Park kiosk with customers and Ham&High reporter Emily Banks, right.       Picture: Polly Hancock

The vendor who runs the Belsize Park newspaper kiosk today thanked his customers for pressuring Camden Council into doing a u-turn over the rent hike which threatened his business.

Yesterday, 11:17
Gabriella with mum Nazanin on her first birthday

A distraught father whose daughter faces her second birthday detained in Iran without her parents has urged children around the world to send her a birthday card.

Yesterday, 10:56
Victor in Delhi

A ‘smart and popular’ 22-year-old who died in a motorbike crash has been remembered at his former school.

Thu, 18:09
A pole will be located at the end of Nassington  Road by the entrance to Hampstead Heath

New plans for an Orthodox Jewish boundary across Camden have been submitted.

Thu, 15:34
The mystery girl was found wandering in  the evening in Daleham Gardens

Police are trying to trace an 11-year-old girl who was discovered wandering in the street in her pyjamas saying she had run away from home.

Thu, 15:31
Service users at the Highgate Day Centre were left feeling

Service users at a mental health day centre in Camden were “heartbroken” after hundreds of pieces of artwork produced during therapeutic art classes were thrown out with the rubbish.

Thu, 12:39
Neighbours are

Neighbours in Gospel Oak say they are “still friends” after publicly airing their difference of opinion over the Brexit question.

Thu, 12:05
An artist's impression of the cycling superhighway in Avenue Road

Camden Council has called on Transport for London (TfL) to conduct further traffic modelling for the propsed Cycle-Superhighway (CS11) scheme to take account of the likely impact of High Speed Rail (HS2).

PROMOTED CONTENT

There are no rules when it comes to buying studio pottery beyond choosing what you love

With The Great Pottery Throwdown captivating viewers across the nation, pottery courses at capacity, and hipsters snapping up vintage studio pieces to display their succulents in and post on Instagram, studio pottery and ceramics are definitely having a moment.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe