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Armed police arrest man following central London siege

posted 27 Apr 2012, 08:23 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 27 Apr 2012, 08:24 ]

Police escort arrested man out of a building in central London where he was reported to have taken hostages during a siege.

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (APRIL 27, 2012) (REUTERS) - Police arrested a man on Friday (April 27) in central London after reports he had taken hostages and was threatening to blow himself up.

Armed police surrounded a building and evacuating one of the busiest roads in the capital, Tottenham Court Road.

Police said they had sent a hostage negotiator to the office block and imposed a 300-metre cordon around the building after the man threw computer equipment from a fifth floor window.

A search of the building was underway following the arrest, police said.

Office equipment, computers and white papers all thrown from the building were strewn across the road below.

Hundreds of people were evacuated from the scene, a busy area of shops and office blocks close to the University of London and the British Museum.

Witnesses said the man, aged 49 or 50, had taken around four people hostage and had threatened to detonate gas canisters he was carrying. Police had no comment on those reports. A source said the incident was not terror-related and was thought to involve a man who had a grievance against a company.

One office worker said she had been inside the office block when the man arrived and threatened staff.

Police in the capital are on alert as the city prepares to host the Olympic Games and celebrate the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's reign this summer.