Siege at Tottenham Court Road: Area evacuated

Police have arrested a man who reportedly threatened to 'blow himself up' during a siege at a central London office.

An area of central London was sealed off today after a man, named in reports as Michael Green, entered an office with gas canisters strapped to his body threatening to blow himself up.

The man, understood to be a 50-year-old from Hemel Hempstead, walked into the HGV licence office in London’s Tottenham Court Road and was believed to be holding people hostage.

Scotland Yard earlier confirmed that a hostage negotiator was sent into the office.

Police were called to the incident at noon and a police hostage negotiator was sent to the scene. Police snipers took up position on rooftops near the incident.

The man threw paper, computers and filing cabinets from the fifth floor of the office.

Met Police said the Tottenham Court Road incident was not an act of terrorism, it was a man "with a grievance".

There were reports he had failed a training course to become an HGV driver and had told terrified workers he had "nothing else to live for".

Paul Shields, 42, watched the incident unfold from scaffolding on a nearby construction site. He told Yahoo! News: "First we heard people shouting to move, there is a bomb.

"Then we saw someone chucking a load of stuff out the window and we looked down and saw someone on the floor below the top floor throwing computers, TVs, laptops and filing cabinets.

"Police there were concentrating on getting people evacuated and loads of people were streaming down Tottenham Court Road."

Police quickly cordoned off the street while nearby buildings were evacuated. Goodge Street Tube Station was also shut.

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