Grimethorpe: Bomb squad called and more than 100 homes evacuated after 'suspicious items' found

More than 100 homes were evacuated as an army bomb disposal team was deployed to the area after "a number of suspicious items" were found at a property.

South Yorkshire Police said earlier on Wednesday that a 100m cordon had been put in place around a property in Grimethorpe, Barnsley, after police executed a warrant on Brierley Road and "a number of suspicious items" were found.

Residents of 130 homes were evacuated. On Wednesday evening the cordon was reduced to 60m and those outside it could return to their homes.

The cordon has now been reduced further to cover only three homes.

Local residents who were originally evacuated are being advised that they can now go back safely to their homes. All roads in the area have now been reopened but a police presence will remain in the area overnight.

A 57-year-old woman and a 58-year-old man have been arrested on suspicion of offences under the Firearms Act and remain in custody.

A large number of emergency services personnel and vehicles were still in the village on Wednesday, including a Royal Logistics Corps bomb disposal truck, which had a robot vehicle positioned next to it.

People said the police activity was focused on a nearby disused church building and adjoining house, which has been in the process of being renovated for a number of years.

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Chelsey Woollard, who lives just outside the cordon, said: "Never in Grimethorpe. Even from being a young child.

"It was a beautiful village and this has come as a shock - not just to me but the whole village as well."

Ms Woollard said she is a carer for her father and panicked as she tried to work out how to get to his home on the other side of the cordon.

"It was a big shocker," she said. "There was a lot of ambulances, fire brigade, up and down the road all day."

Barnsley Council has opened a rest centre at St Luke's Church for households with nowhere else to go, as its leader, Sir Steve Houghton, said: "I urge local people to follow the advice from the police and keep them and their families safe."

Assistant Chief Constable David Hartley said: "Our heartfelt thanks go to the local residents of Grimethorpe for their continuing cooperation and patience as we carry out our work.

"We know this has caused disruption to people's daily lives and appreciate your understanding that public safety must come first. We will continue to update you as we have more information to share."