Man arrested on firearms and explosives terror offences as bomb squad called to hospital

The man remains in custody while a car and connected addresses are searched

Thomas Kingsley
Friday 20 January 2023 16:29 GMT
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A man has been arrested on suspicion of firearm and explosives offences after a hospital in Leeds was evacuated following the identification of a suspicious package.

West Yorkshire counter-terrorism police said a 27-year-old man was arrested in connection with the incident after being found in possession of a suspected firearm and a suspicious device in the hospital grounds.

The public was warned to stay away from St James’s Hospital in Leeds by West Yorkshire Police, who alongside the bomb squad, were investigating a “suspicious package”.

A bomb disposal unit at St James's Hospital, Leeds, where patients and staff were evacuated from some parts of the building following the discovery of a suspicious package outside the Gledhow Wing
A bomb disposal unit at St James's Hospital, Leeds, where patients and staff were evacuated from some parts of the building following the discovery of a suspicious package outside the Gledhow Wing (PA)

Officers and an explosive ordnance disposal unit are at the hospital where staff have reportedly been told to keep away from windows as a safety measure. West Yorkshire Police have asked people to avoid the entrance to Gledhow Wing at this time.

Officers are working with the army who are at the scene to make an assessment. There are reports the incident was first responded to in the early hours of this morning.

Counter-terrorism police said: “At approximately 5am this morning, a 27 year old man from Leeds was arrested on suspicion of firearms and explosives offences, after being found in possession of a suspected firearm and a suspicious device in the hospital grounds. He was detained for questioning and remains in custody at this time.

“There is not believed to be any ongoing risk to public safety. A cordon remains in place as a precautionary measure, but has now been reduced to facilitate greater access to the hospital. Specialist teams continue to work at the scene.

“Searches of a vehicle and a number of premises are ongoing.”

A bomb disposal unit outside St James’s Hospital, Leeds (PA)
A bomb disposal unit outside St James’s Hospital, Leeds (PA) (PA Wire)

The force added that the situation is being treated as an isolated incident.

Officers said as a safety precaution, some people have been evacuated from the immediate vicinity.

A West Yorkshire counter terrorism police spokesperson added: “Due to the nature of the incident, CTP North East has deployed resources with access to specialist capabilities to help establish the full circumstances surrounding the incident.

“Emergency department at St James’s remains open, and patients are asked to attend outpatient appointments as normal unless contacted otherwise.”

The statement continued: “Emergency services are currently dealing with a suspicious package incident outside the Gledhow Wing at St James’s Hospital, in Beckett Street, Leeds.

A member of the bomb disposal unit wearing protective equipment at St James's Hospital, Leeds
A member of the bomb disposal unit wearing protective equipment at St James's Hospital, Leeds (PA)

“A cordon has been put in place as a precautionary measure for public safety.

“Officers are liaising with Army specialists who are at the scene to make an assessment in line with normal procedures.

“People are asked to avoid the entrance to the Gledhow Wing at this time.”

The Gledhow wing, about a mile from Leeds city centre, houses the majority of maternity services at St James’s hospital, including its antenatal clinic, maternity assessment centre and the delivery suite. It also includes wards for respiratory and bereavement services.

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