A 27-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of a terror offense after he was allegedly seen in a hospital’s maternity wing with a suspicious firearm and a suspicious package.
Counter Terrorism Policing (CTP) North East said wards at the Gladhowe wing of St James’s Hospital in Leeds were evacuated after the suspect was taken into custody at around 5am on Friday.
The man was initially arrested on suspicion of firearms and explosives offences, but police later said he was charged on Friday evening under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000 on suspicion of carrying out, preparing or inciting acts of terrorism. Arrested again.
Army experts and a bomb disposal unit reached the spot on Friday and cordoned it off as a precautionary measure.
Detective Chief Superintendent Jim Dunkerley, Head of Counter Terrorism Policing North East, said: “This is being treated as an isolated incident and there is no evidence to suggest that there is an increased or ongoing risk to the public.”
Police said extensive inquiries are being carried out to establish the full circumstances of the incident and any possible motivation.
Officers are currently conducting a detailed forensic examination and review of the recovered items, including digital media equipment.
A vehicle search has ended but they are being carried out at premises in Leeds.
Some appointments, walk-in service in some wards of the hospital and visits in some wards had to be suspended due to the security scare.
The wing is home to most of the hospital’s maternity services as well as some respite and bereavement services.
West Yorkshire Police’s Superintendent Dan Wood said: “The incident was brought to a safe conclusion by the work of the emergency services, and one person has been arrested and is in custody in connection with it.
“We are continuing to liaise with our counter-terrorism partners as they progress their investigation.
“We recognize that an incident of this nature would cause understandable public concern and we are engaging with our partner agencies and key community representatives to reassure them and keep them informed.”
Steve Bush, medical director of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Unfortunately some patient appointments had to be canceled as a result of today’s incident and we apologize for the inconvenience – these will be rearranged as soon as possible.”
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