Armed police in street as South Shields flats closed off as officers negotiate with man in 'distressed state'
A block of flats in South Shields remains closed off as police have spent the evening continuing to negotiate with a man who is described as being in an "distressed state".
Up to eight Northumbria Police vehicles have been seen in Lorrain Road, Whiteleas, during the cause of the day, having first been called to the street at around 11am.
Armed officers have also been seen in the street and police continue to remain on the street tonight.
A Northumbria Police spokesman said: "Police assisting South Tyneside Council with a gas service warrant located a man at an address on Lorrain Road, Whiteleas, described as being in a distressed state.
"He had locked himself inside the property and was unwilling to leave.
“Officers are currently at the scene and are negotiating with the man in question."
One woman said: "I passed at 1pm and saw the police had closed the road.
“It was still closed when I came back an hour later.
“A man has locked himself in the flat and is refusing to come out - there was a rumour he had weapons but how much of it is true is anyone's guess."
A man, who was walking past when he saw the police in the street, said: "The police have been here since about eleven this morning.
“Loads of people have been out watching what's been going on.
“I think he's in his 30s or something.
“I didn't think it would go on as long as it has.
“People have been told to walk on the opposite side to the flat.
Sign up to our daily newsletter
"It makes you wonder what's going on inside.
“They've had the dogs going in and out and they've taken shields in.
"I can't get over how may people have come out go watch."
A council spokesman said: "Council officers, with the assistance of Northumbria Police, attended a property on Lorrain Road, South Shields, to gain access to a property as part of our annual Gas Safety Inspections on behalf of South Tyneside Homes."
More on this story to follow.