Man with knife 'holds staff members hostage' at Newcastle Job Centre

There is 'no information or intelligence' to suggest incident is terror related, police confirm

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The Independent Online

A man armed with a knife is believed to have been holding several members of staff at a Job Centre Plus in Newcastle hostage, Northumbria Police has said.

Officers were called to Clifford Street in Byker at around 8am on Friday morning following reports of a disturbance at the centre.

Specialist negotiators are currently at the scene, and roads around the premises have been closed until further notice.

There is "no information or intelligence" to suggest the incident was terror related, police confirmed.

Nearby student accommodation has also been evacuated, and Byker Metro station has been closed.

A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: "Officers have attended and found a man armed with a knife had entered premises and it is believed that several members of staff are being held there. Several other staff members have left.

"We are currently deaing with the incident but ther are no reports of any injuyries at this time."

It is believed the man responsible is known to Job Centre staff, and the incident is being treated as an isolated one.

Simon Meechan, a reporter for local paper the Newcastle Chronicle, has been tweeting from the scene.

"An ambulance has headed to Byker Job Centre, without sirens. There's ambulances parked up in Gala too," he said, adding that police with dogs were in attendance.

At around 10.20am, police issued an update to say they "believed that all the hostages have been released and that the man concerned is the only person who remains in the building".

Anyone with information has been asked to contact the police on the 101 number.