A man has been arrested after police found suspicious items inside a house in South Shields.
Shortly after 10.30pm on December 31, we received a report of a loud bang in the area of Temple Memorial Park.
Officers attended and found a hole in the ground which had been caused by a small explosion. Nobody was found to have been injured and no further reports were made.
An investigation was launched into the incident, and as part of our enquiries, yesterday (Tuesday) police carried out a warrant at an address on Hathersage Gardens.
After searching the property, officers found a quantity of suspicious items including chemicals. However, this is not being treated as terror related.
A 51-year-old man was subsequently arrested on suspicion of making or having explosives in suspicious circumstances. He remains in custody and is assisting officers with their enquiries.
This afternoon (Wednesday), police have contacted bomb disposal teams who are assisting officers.
As a precaution, a cordon is in place around the address in question and those living nearby have been temporarily evacuated while officers ensure the area is safe.
Superintendent Barrie Joisce, of Northumbria Police, said: “We recognise that people may have concerns about an investigation of this nature but we want to reassure the public that there is no immediate threat to their safety.
“The decision to put a cordon in place and subsequently evacuate some homes living nearby is as a precaution.
“Over the coming hours, we will continue to speak to a man who remains in police custody in connection with this investigation.
“A number of officers remain at the scene to carry out enquiries and offer reassurance to the public. Anyone with concerns is asked to speak to those officers or call 101.”