Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Bomb Vest Hoax Knifeman Siege

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Bomb Vest Hoax Knifeman Siege

Article excerpt

TERROR returned to the streets of Britain as a man wearing what appeared to be a bomb vest took staff hostage at a Tyneside Job Centre.

Armed police swooped on Clifford Street in Byker, Newcastle, shortly after 8am yesterday after the man entered the centre armed with a knife and what turned out to be a fake bomb strapped to his chest.

The street was sealed off, while Byker Metro Station and Raby Street were also shut as officers began negotiating with the man.

Job Centre staff were held hostage but by 8.30am everybody inside had been released Witness Cynthia Scott saw women fleeing as she parked her car before starting her shift at Tynedale Eye Clinic on Shields Road.

She said: "I saw three women running out of the office. I thought they might be chasing somebody. Within seconds, wham, the police arrived."

Officers searched buildings and evacuated nearby student halls of residence.

Bomb disposal teams were dispatched as a precaution and parked by the Salvation Army hall.

Taxi driver Ashley Nolan, who witnessed the standoff, said: "There was a massive police presence.

It must particularly traumatising those members kept premises "We saw the bomb disposal arrive on the scene and police were pushing people back. It was quite a tense situation."

After three hours of negotiations, a 28-year-old was arrested on suspicion of threats to kill.

Police, who say no-one was injured, said the man was known to Job Centre staff.

Officers believe it was an isolated incident and have no intelligence linking it to terrorism. Shields Road was reopened at around 11.45am, although officers remained in the area to search through buildings. Byker Metro Station opened to passengers shortly after noon.

Shahid Hussain could see armed police gather from the window of the opticians he works in. …

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