Police brought an armed siege at a Jarrow bookmakers’ this evening to an end by tasering a man who had held four people hostage.
The drama unfolded at the Coral office at Grange Road, in the Viking Centre, at about 5,45pm tonight.
Firearms officers surrounded the premises, where an armed man was holding four people hostage.
Specialist firearms officers were sent to the scene, and the police helicopter was also deployed.
Trained police negotiators spoke with the man to try to get him to exit the store safely.
Three people who were inside the premises with the man all left unharmed.
One person - believed to be a member of staff - remained inside the premises with the man for some time.
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Dame Vera Baird QC Tweeted: “All hostages free as Jarrow siege ends. Told: he had loaded sawn-off, but arrested without police use of firearms. Well done & glad all safe”
A cordon was set up in the area to allow officers to deal with the situation, and nearby roads were closed as a precaution.
The siege lasted three hours, and came to a dramatic conclusion at 8.44pm.
Police negotiated the safe release of the fourth person from inside the premises, then at 8.53pm the suspect was arrested after being tasered.
A firearm was seized and a 39-year-old man was taken into police custody.
A spokesman for Northumbria Police confirmed: “A police-issue ‘less lethal weapon’ was discharged during the incident in order to bring this matter to safe conclusion.
“This was the ‘shots’ that people may have heard.
“Nobody has been injured during the incident.
“Inquiries are ongoing and we will try and get the area back to normal as possible.
“We would like to thank the public for their cooperation.”
* Video courtesy of reader Stephen Dixon, who lives opposite the bookies.