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Sleek Popemobile joins Pope on UK tour

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 16 September 2010

Wellwishers turning out to see Pope Benedict in Edinburgh today have seen him travel in one of the two sleek German-made Popemobiles that have been imported in from the Vatican for the tour.

Pope Benedict travels in his German made Mercedes Popemobile (Getty)

Pope Benedict made his first appearance in the UK in the modified Mercedes M-Class vehicle, which cost £75,000, as he left Holyrood Palace and travelled up Princes Street.

The Pope waved to the crowds of flag-waving children from behind bullet-proof glass.

A driver and a security guard sat in the front of the car, while there is room for two papal aides to sit in the back in front of the Pope's elevated chair.

British drivers chosen by local authorities are driving the popemobiles, which are powered by green energy.

Pope Benedict travels up Princes Street in his Popemobile

The Popemobile's registration plate was SCV1, which is the abbreviation for Stato della Citta del Vaticano, or Vatican City State.

The Metropolitan Police says it has worked closely with papal organisers to provide the best vantage points for onlookers to see the Popemobile.

"While security issues will be paramount, the Met Police is working with HM Government, event organisers and other partners to ensure routes for the popemobile are designed with the aim of affording the public the best possible opportunity of seeing Pope Benedict.

Popemobile registration plate

"Those wishing to see the Pope are advised to plan their trips well in advance and head for the central London Popemobile routes to avoid disappointment," a Met Police spokesman said.

The Vatican abandoned the use of an uncovered Popemobile and started to use bullet-proof glass after the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II in 1981.

During John Paul's visit in 1982, he was driven around in British-made Popemobiles that had been built by Leyland and Range Rover.

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