Armed police have arrested a man who tried to make a run for it holding a sawn-off shotgun after taking hostages at a bookmakers.
At least half a dozen police officers as well as a number of police vehicles were seen outside the Coral bookies in Jarrow, close to Newcastle in North East England. A police helicopter could also be seen circling the area. The man was finally arrested after a three-hour siege, which involved four hostages.
Local residents came out from their homes, some of them in pyjamas to see what was going on. Two shots were heard being fired from inside the bookies before police arrrested the suspect.
Northumbria Police force would only say that the incident had been controlled by officers who used what they described as a “less lethal weapon”. However, witnesses said they believed they had used a Taser.
It is understood that four hostages were taken during the three-hour incident. Three were released first and police managed to negotiate with the suspect to get him to release the fourth. The suspect is a 39 year old man, who has now been arrested. An eyewitness described how the man had a coat and hat on, and had tried to make an escape from the shop, only to be stopped by police.
Dame Vera Baird QC, who is the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner said it was her understanding that the man was carrying a sawn-off shotgun. She said that all hostages were now free, praising police for their handling of the situation.
One witness, Stephen Dixon, 41, said he saw the incident unfold from the window of a friend’s apartment, which overlooked the bookies. He explained that while it is usually a quiet neighbourhood, he had heard shouting before a number of police cars arrived. He said he heard police shouting to the man that he should come to the door and give himself up.