Sunday 28 May 2017

Bomb suspect quizzed after stand-off at bank

Dean Gray in London

A bomb suspect brought a town centre to a standstill after threatening to blow up a bank during a three-hour siege yesterday.

Armed police and the military were drafted in to a prolonged stand-off at the Co-operative bank in Watford, England, before the 23-year-old gave himself up.

Tests were being carried out to establish the nature of an explosive device found on the suspect, police said.

The incident is not believed to be terror-related, with initial investigations pointing towards "some sort of vengeance attack", a source said.

The dark-haired man, wearing a white shirt and black trousers, sparked panic after walking into the bank and threatening members of staff at around 10am.

Chief Inspector Mike Pryce said dozens of police officers, including specialist firearms teams, surrounded the scene as a cordon was put in place.

"What unfolded over the next few hours was a complicated and fast-moving situation, which came to a successful and safe resolution," he said.

"This was achieved through the assistance of bomb disposal experts from the Ministry of Defence."

Marksmen

With locals looking on, the man was forced to his knees outside the bank as he gave himself up.

Witnesses described police marksmen aiming their guns at the bank and reported rumours that the man had a bomb strapped to his body.

One unsuspecting pensioner tried to enter the branch during the stand-off.

Ron Miller, co-owner of Beatrice Bray florists directly opposite the bank, watched events unfold from outside his shop.

Mr Miller said: "I saw an elderly gentleman trying to push the door to go in. Someone further down the road screamed: 'Don't go in there'. He just walked away."

Hertfordshire police said: "Safety of members of the public was paramount and a cordon was put in place and people were evacuated from nearby premises."

The man was being questioned at a local station as investigations continue.

Irish Independent

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