Army ‘sorry’ for lack of warning before Dreghorn explosions

Army Reservists take part in intensive training'' at Dreghorn. File picture: Lisa Ferguson
Army Reservists take part in intensive training'' at Dreghorn. File picture: Lisa Ferguson
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ARMY top brass have apologised after huge training explosions were set off without warning at Dreghorn Barracks yesterday morning.

Panicked reports came in from across the city of massive bangs that were shaking homes and scaring pets between 8am and 8.30am.

The Ministry of Defence later confirmed the explosions were part of a training exercise for specialist infantry.

“Sincere apologies to everybody in Edinburgh who was alarmed by the explosions )today at Dreghorn Barracks,” said an Army spokeswoman.

Although police were told, “something went wrong in communications” preventing a wider notification to the public, said the spokeswoman.

But full safety guidelines were followed and communications will be improved in the future, she added.

The Evening News understands Assault Pioneers were using large amounts of plastic and TNT explosives during the training exercise.

Pioneers are responsible for clearing any obstacles ahead of infantry so soldiers can advance in combat zones.

READ MORE: MoD confirms training exercises in Edinburgh in late August

Dreghorn has hosted similar training in the past although such exercises are usually held on a range, the Evening News understands.

Residents in Bruntsfield, Gorgie, Stenhouse, Corstorphine and parts of Leith reported hearing loud noises from 8am onwards.

Police confirmed they received reports from concerned members of the public.

The explosions caused spooked horses to stampede at Tower Farm Riding Stables on Liberton Drive.

Manager Debbie Henderson said: “We’re used to fireworks at night but this was nothing like that.

“If we get a warning, we can pull the horses in and keep them calm but we couldn’t do that so they started to run and stampede.”

Stable hands raced to catch the 20 horses, taking 30 minutes to calm them down, with none hurt.

Ms Henderson said it was only good fortune that meant no-one was riding at the time and so any injuries were averted.

“There could have been people riding because they go about before work,” she said.

“They could’ve been injured or worse if the horse had bolted with them sitting on it.”

Worried residents took to social media to report the explosions and speculate as to their cause.

Others phoned the city council and police in a bid to get to the bottom of the mysterious bangs.

Red-faced army chiefs later took to Twitter to apologise. “Sincere apologies to everyone in Edinburgh for the bangs this morning. Soldiers in Dreghorn barracks were doing

demolitions training.”