Two arrests and hundreds evacuated after bomb squad called to former pit village

A second person has been arrested after more than 100 homes were evacuated in a former pit village as an Army bomb squad was deployed following the discovery of “a number of suspicious items” at a property.

South Yorkshire Police said around 130 homes near to the address in Grimethorpe, Barnsley, were evacuated on Wednesday morning after police executed a warrant on Brierley Road.

The 100-metre cordon established by the force has now been reduced to 60 metres and residents living outside the new cordon have been allowed to return home, police said.

The new cordon is anticipated to remain in place for 72 hours and Barnsley Council has opened a rest centre at St Luke’s Church for those with nowhere else to go.

A 58-year-old man was also arrested on suspicion of offences under the same Act earlier in the day and remains in police custody.

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

A force spokesman earlier said: “Around 130 homes are being evacuated while emergency services continue their response after a number of suspicious items were found at an address on Brierley Road following a warrant this morning.”

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.

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.

She said: “It was a big shocker.

“There was a lot of ambulances, fire brigade, up and down the road all day.”

Grimethorpe incident
Members of the armed services at the scene (Danny Lawson/PA)

Another man, watching the police activity, said: “You don’t get this very often here.

“They all came about 7am and it’s been bonkers since.”

A command post was earlier established next to the centre in the church, about 100m outside the cordon.

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.”

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