South Shields explosive alert: What we know as inquiries continue after chemicals are uncovered in house raid
Residents were cleared from their homes and part of a hospital car park closed off after a man was arrested in connection with making explosives.
A section of McAnany Avenue and Hathersage Gardens, on the Harton Moor Estate in South Shields, was taped off to people and vehicles today, Wednesday, January 8, in the wake of a search carried out of a property in Hathersage Gardens by Northumbria Police yesterday.
After searching the property, officers found a quantity of suspicious items including chemicals.
However, the force say the incident is not being treated as terror-related.
A 51-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of making or having explosives in suspicious circumstances and remains in custody
The inquiry began following reports that shortly after 10.30pm on Tuesday, December 31, when people heard a “loud bang” in the area of Temple Memorial Park.
Officers attended and found a hole in the ground which had been caused by a small explosion.
Nobody was found to have been injured and no further reports were made.
As further inquiries centred on the home, police called in British Army bomb disposal teams to assist officers.
As a precaution, a cordon has been put in place around the address in question and those living nearby have been temporarily evacuated while officers ensure the area is safe.
It is likely this will continue late into tonight, according to the Army, with part of South Tyneside District Hospital car park also closed off to keep people safe.
Superintendent Barrie Joisce, of Northumbria Police, said: “We recognise that people may have concerns about an investigation of this nature but we want to reassure the public that there is no immediate threat to their safety.
“The decision to put a cordon in place and subsequently evacuate some homes living nearby is as a precaution.
“Over the coming hours, we will continue to speak to a man who remains in police custody in connection with this investigation.
“A number of officers remain at the scene to carry out enquiries and offer reassurance to the public.
“Anyone with concerns is asked to speak to those officers or call 101.”