A man has been arrested by police after suspicious items sparked a suspected bomb alert and homes to be evacuated in a South Shields street.
Scores of residents were forced to leave their homes in Lake Avenue, Marsden in the early hours of this morning as officers and an army bomb disposal team from Catterick sealed off the area.
The response came after officers discovered what they said ‘gave the appearance of improvised explosives’ as they searched a property over an unrelated matter.
Throughout the day searches at the address were carried out by specially trained officers which are now complete.
The Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team carried out a controlled explosion mid-morning on an item police say was not an explosive device.
Around 61 households were evacuated and Temple Park Centre in South Shields was turned into a refuge centre to give residents refreshments.
Police have now confirmed a 38-year-old man was arrested earlier this evening in connection with the incident. He remains in custody and inquiries are continuing.
The cordon that was in place has now been lifted and residents are being allowed back into their homes.
Superintendent Brad Howe said: “First of all I would like to thank local residents for their patience during this incident, I know there has been a lot of disruption for them and I would like to assure them we did not do this without giving a great deal of thought to the impact this would have on them.
“We have been working closely with our colleagues at South Tyneside Council to try and keep this disruption minimal and to make sure there was support for residents who were directly affected by this.
“While initially it appeared there may have been suspected improvised explosive devices in the premises this has proved not to be the case and devices of this nature were not found. Other items were seized which included what is believed to be a homemade taser.”