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Newhall 'bomb' alert

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: July 28, 2014

By Laura Hammond

police-tape

police-tape

HUNDREDS of people were evacuated from their homes when police discovered a potential explosive in a flat.

Those living within a 100-metre radius of Beards Road, Newhall, were sent to Swadlincote's Pingle School overnight on Saturday as emergency services and the Army were called in to deal with what police called a 'potentially volatile material'.

Bomb disposal experts carried out six controlled explosions yesterday, some in the early hours of the morning, with most residents allowed back into their homes by mid-afternoon.

A spokesman for Derbyshire Police said: "The substance was discovered on Saturday afternoon at a flat during a search of the premises.

A 55-year-old man is under arrest."

Officers found the unknown material while conducting a search of the property in relation to suspected drug offences.

The man remained in police custody as the Mail went to press, and police said they were not seeking anyone else in connection with the incident.

Many confused residents headed for home late on Saturday arrived to find their road cordoned off and surrounded by emergency teams, with no idea why.

One told the Mail: "We were out for the day at York races and we had a text from a neighbour saying we couldn't go home.

"Police told us we couldn't go to our house, and we've got pets in there.

"It's worrying when it's down where you live."

Superintendent Paul Markham said people were evacuated as a precaution, and were allowed to return when police were confident that no danger remained.

Those living in the three houses nearest to the flat were kept away longer as further investigations took place.

Catherine Speight, who lives in nearby Maple Road, said: "There's lots of rumours flying around and it's scary. It's a bit close."

Punters from the Royal Oak pub, in High Street, gathered outside to see what was going on, as emergency services worked through the night.

At least one of the people evacuated sought shelter at the bar.

Among those on the scene was Frank McArdle, chief executive of South Derbyshire District Council, who was part of the Derbyshire emergency response team.

He told the Mail: "The emergency forces were called out to an incident which activated a call to the Derbyshire Emergency Plan team. Local council officers and county council officers attended the incident and now it is in the hands of the emergency services."

Sand bags were taken to the scene throughout the night, and Army bomb disposal workers spent many hours in the flat.

Voluntary groups and council staff looked after the people who had been displaced from their homes.

A cordon in High Street was lifted during yesterday morning, but a police block remained in place around the immediate area for much of the day as members of the emergency services swarmed around the site.

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