‘Crossbow’ siege drama

Police stand-off: Police at the scene of the siege in Alexandra Road
Police stand-off: Police at the scene of the siege in Alexandra Road
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Man held on attempted murder after five hour stand-off

A man was today being quizzed on suspicion of attempted murder after a five hour stand-off with armed police.

Ambulance crews were called to a property on Alexandra Road, South Shore, Blackpool, following reports a woman had been threatened with a crossbow.

Armed police and specialist negotiators were called in as the drama escalated,roads were sealed off and local residents evacuated.

Witnesses said they saw a terrified woman in the street screaming about the weapon.

A police spokesman confirmed there had been reports of a crossbow being involved.

The incident, which began at 3.20pm yesterday, ended when a man gave himself up to police.

A woman – with head injuries – and a teenager and toddler, who were uninjured, were taken to hospital following the incident.

A 43-year-old man was today being questioned on suspicion of attempted murder.

It was not confirmed last night what started the siege.

But a police spokesman said a weapon has been recovered.

He added: “Police were called at around 3.20pm, yesterday, to an address on Alexandra Road following reports a man was in possession of a weapon.

“Specialist officers negotiated with a man in a flat for around five hours before he voluntarily left the flat and was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

“A woman was taken to hospital with a minor head injury. A teenager and a toddler were also taken to hospital but were uninjured.”

A North West Ambulance Service spokeswoman said it had received a call at 3.20pm to reports to an incident involving a crossbow.

“We arrived at the scene at 3.26pm and we sent a rapid response vehicle, an ambulance, our heart team and a high dependency unit,” she said.

Ambulance crews were still on scene at 5pm.

Witnesses and neighbours told of their shock at the incident.

A resident on neighbouring Lytham Road, who did not wish to be named, said a women had approached his partner as she was walking down Alexandra Road.

“She was talking (about a crossbow),” he said.

“She called for the police - anyone would do the same if someone came crying for help.

“I was on my way back from the pub when I saw there was a hell of a lot of movement, maybe 12-15 police cars including possibly four armed response units.

“My partner said they had taken the woman into an ambulance and were treating her. The police wanted to speak to my partner about it.

“I’ve never heard of anything involving a crossbow before. It’s quite extreme and it’s a shock.”

Another resident, a woman, told how she was walking home along Lytham Road, at around 3.15pm, when she saw two women running towards her, “screaming” for help.

She said: “As I got to Alexandra Road two girls came running down, screaming, shouting ‘help, help, help, please help’.

“One of the girls said there was a crossbow.

“She was holding her head and saying she was in pain, but I couldn’t see blood.

“I rang the police straight away.

“They (the girls) were trying to get back into the flat but I made sure they stayed with me until police arrived.”

The woman told how police arrived on the scene within minutes. Two ambulances were called.

He said: “I drove home straight away and there were police everywhere. There was a street full of police cars.

“I was stopped by armed 
officers and told I wouldn’t be allowed to go in.”

The neighbour said the residents in the flat where the siege took place “never caused any trouble” and seemed like “normal” people.

Residents living along the road were asked to leave their homes, with many being sent to the nearby Boathouse Youth centre.

Another neighbour said: “I was just at home when all of a sudden I heard commotion outside.

“About half an hour later armed police were running down the road, telling everyone to evacuate.

“They wouldn’t give us a reason, they just said we had to get out straight away.”