Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Item Destroyed as Families Evacuated; SUSPICIOUS PACKAGE DISCOVERED IN SOUTH TYNESIDE FLAT

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Item Destroyed as Families Evacuated; SUSPICIOUS PACKAGE DISCOVERED IN SOUTH TYNESIDE FLAT

Article excerpt

Byline: Sophie Doughty Crime Reporter sophie.doughty@ncjmedia.co.uk @Sophie_Doughty

A MANHUNT is under way as police seek the resident of a flat where a suspected explosive was found.

Scores of families were evacuated from their homes on Friday morning after frightening discovery was made at around 4am, A number of items believed to be improvised explosive devices were uncovered during a raid at the flat, on Lake Avenue, South Shields.

One 'small item' later was destroyed in a controlled explosion.

And, while police do not believe the contents of the flat to be dangerous, or are linked to terrorism, officers are hunting the man who lives there, who had fled before their arrival.

Chief Supt Ged Noble, Northumbria Police's area commander for Sunderland and South Tyneside, said: "At this time, I am not treating this as a counter-terrorism incident. However, I will keep that under constant review.

"We are actively looking for the occupant of that address, because we need to speak to him in relation to other matters, as well as the items that were found. Those items gave the appearance of being improvised explosive devices."

Chief Supt Noble said police received information on Thursday night which led them to search the flat.

When officers arrived, they found what Chief Supt Noble described as "several items which caused them significant concern".

The residents of 61 homes on the street were woken by officers at around 6.30am and evacuated before the area was sealed off with a police cordon.

On Friday morning, firefighters, paramedics and army bomb disposal experts were also at the scene, and a controlled explosion was carried out on one item.

They just out straight We just had everything to our house.

Thomas Specialists from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team then examined the flat for several hours, but police said they found no 'explosives' or 'hazardous material.'.

Families told the Chronicle of their shock at being told to leave their properties as quickly as possible.

Residents of the adjoining Lizard Lane were told to stay in their homes. One man, in his 60s, said: "They just said to me: 'If you don't need to be out, just stay in the house'. They said: 'If you are in any danger we'll let you know'."

Couple Thomas and Ruby Colman were among those evacuated from their homes. Ruby, 68, said: "The police got us out of bed and said there was a bomb scare and we had to evacuate as soon as possible. They said it was urgent."

said 'Get away'. to grab and go daughter's " And Thomas, 72, added: "It was about 4am they got here and we got knocked up at about 6.45am. They just said; 'Get out straight away'. We just had to grab everything and go to our daughter's house. It's a right carry-on. It is a worry, especially when you get told it's urgent. …

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