Armed police surround St Helens factory

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A factory in Merseyside was surrounded by armed police today in response to what local reports called a "hostage situation".

Residents near the Alfred H Knight Metalworks in St Helens were reportedly told to stay indoors.

Paramedics attended the scene. A North West Ambulance Service spokesman described the situation as "ongoing and fluid", while a police spokesman reported that the premises were evacuated while checks were carried out.

Local roads were closed and motorists were advised to avoid the area.

Alfred H Knight's website describes the 125-year-old business as providing "a totally independent weighing, sampling and analysis service to the commodity trade".