Armed man arrested after taking hostages at bookmakers
An armed man who took hostages at a bookmakers in the UK has been arrested.
Northumbria Police said they were called to the Coral bookmakers in Grange Road, Jarrow, following a report of a man in possession of a firearm.
The force said the incident was brought to a close by officers using a "less lethal weapon", which locals said was a Taser.
Four hostages are thought to have been taken by the man inside the shop. Local people said they watched as three were released but police continued to negotiate for the release of the fourth until the stand-off ended.
Social media users said the noise of shots was heard just before the end of the stand-off.
A force spokesman said: "At 8.44pm police negotiated the safe release of the fourth person from inside the premises then, at 8.53pm, the man in possession of the weapon was arrested by officers.
"A firearm has been seized by officers and the 39-year-old man will be taken into police custody.
"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.
"Enquiries 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."
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Dame Vera Baird said on Twitter: "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."
Earlier, a police spokesman said officers were called at 5.46pm.
He said: "Specialist firearms officers are currently at the scene and police negotiators are speaking with the man to try and get him to exit the store safely."
He said: "There is no threat to the wider public however we would ask that people avoid the area while we work to bring this situation to a safe conclusion."
One local resident, who did not want to be named, said he and scores of neighbours watched as police surrounded the shop and hostages were released.
"He's come to the door every now and then, talking to the police," the man said before the siege finished.
"It's difficult to see him because he's put newspaper over the windows.
"There's been three hostages released so far."
A large number of police vehicles were outside the shop in Grange Road and social media postings showed large crowds gathering, including children, to watch the stand-off.
The man said: "It's like a grandstand over here now.
"The first I knew about it was when there was a lot of shouting outside. That's not unusual but it just went on a bit longer than normal."
The man said he then looked out to see the street swarming with police.