South Shields bomb disposal update: Police probe continues after man arrested in explosives scare

Police remain on the scene in South Shields following an explosives scare which saw emergency services and bomb disposal teams scrambled to one of the town’s streets.

Thursday, 9th January 2020, 2:36 pm

Families had to leave their homes for several hours following an operation centered on a property in Hathersage Gardens, South Shields, on Wednesday, January 8.

Officers carried out a search at an address in the street the previous day (Tuesday, January 7) and discovered a quantity of suspicious items, including chemicals, at the property.

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Northumbria Police will be carrying out inquiries in the area today.

The British Army bomb disposal team at Catterick was called in to provide assistance following the search, but was stood down.

Items discovered at the searched address were removed from the scene by Northumbria Police, an MoD spokesman said.

Officers continue to carry out inquiries in the Hathersage Gardens area.

A spokesman for Northumbria Police confirmed to the Gazette on Thursday that a 51-year-old man, arrested on suspicion of having or making explosives in suspicious circumstances, remains in police custody and was assisting officers.

Police remain near to Hathersage Gardens on Thursday, January 9.

The spokesman added: “Anyone with concerns is asked to speak to one of those officers or ring 101.”

Northumbria Police said on Wednesday that the incident was not being treated as terror-related, and that the inquiry began following reports that people heard a “loud bang” in the Temple Memorial Park area at about 10.30pm on New Year's Eve; Tuesday, December 31.

Officers attended and found a hole in the ground which had been caused by a small explosion. Nobody was injured.

A man who has lived in Hathersage Gardens for years, but who did not want to be named, told the Gazette on Thursday that he was evacuated from his home for several hours while officers ensured that the area was safe.

A police van following an incident around Hathersage Gardens on Wednesday.

He was allowed back in to his property at around 11.30pm on Wednesday to stay the night, while a police presence remained outside in the street,

The man added that it was “not uncommon” for residents living in the nearby area to hear bangs – but they never thought it was anything to worry about.

Police and army teams on the scene on the Harton Moor Estate in South Shields on Wednesday, January 8.