Counter-terror police arrest armed man as maternity wing evacuated

Counter-terror police have arrested a 27-year-old man after he was allegedly seen with a firearm and a suspicious package at a hospital’s maternity wing.

Counter Terrorism Policing (CTP) North East said wards on the Gledhow wing of St James’s Hospital in Leeds were evacuated after the suspect was detained at around 5am on Friday.

Army specialists and a bomb disposal unit attended the scene and a cordon was put in place as a precautionary measure, but it was later reduced to facilitate greater access to the hospital.

St James’s Hospital incident
A bomb disposal unit at St James’s Hospital, Leeds (Ben Lack/PA)

Police said extensive inquiries are under way to establish the full circumstances of the incident and any potential motivation.

The wing is home to the majority of the hospital’s maternity services, as well as some respiratory and bereavement services.

CTP North East, which is leading the investigation, said searches of a car and a number of premises are ongoing – and the suspect, from Leeds, remains in custody for questioning.

Police said it is being treated as an isolated incident and there is not believed to be any ongoing risk to public safety.

Superintendent Dan Wood, of West Yorkshire Police, said: “This incident was brought to a safe conclusion by the work of the emergency services, and a man has been arrested in connection with it and remains in custody.

“We are continuing to liaise with our counter terrorism colleagues as they progress their investigation.

“We recognise that an incident of this nature will cause understandable public concern and we are linking with our partner agencies and key community representatives to reassure them and keep them informed.”

Confirming the critical incident at the hospital had been stood down, Steve Bush, medical director at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Patients who were evacuated are being moved back to their wards.

“It may be some time before we are back to business as usual in these areas, so please bear with us.

“Unfortunately some patient appointments were cancelled as a result of today’s incident and we would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused – these will be rearranged as soon as possible.”