UK

NatWest In Northfield, Birmingham, Sealed Off Following Reports That Armed Man Is Inside

A police cordon was in place.

17/03/2017 13:23 GMT | Updated 17/03/2017 16:48 GMT

A man has been arrested by armed officers at a NatWest branch in Birmingham following reports that he was brandishing a weapon. 

Officers sealed off the branch in Northfield on Friday after reports that an armed man was holding a female member of staff hostage in an interview room, West Midlands Police said.

Police said the 60-year-old produced a firearm from a bag, but made no threats or demands for money. 

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The area was cordoned off by police.

Negotiators also attended the scene in Bristol Road South. No-one was injured.

Police were called at about 11.45am and the man, believed to be a customer at the branch, surrendered to police at about 12.50pm. 

He was taken to hospital for an assessment but is expected to be questioned later on suspicion of firearms offences, police said.

Many people shared pictures on social media of the road being shut off while the incident was ongoing.

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Residents were urged to avoid Northfield town centre while the incident was ongoing.

Chief Inspector Shaun Phillips, from West Midlands Police, said: “Officers quickly surrounded the bank, set-up a street cordon and established phone contact with some staff members who were hiding in a back room.

“It’s understood the man was with one female staff member, while other staff were lying low in another back room.

“No customers were caught up in the incident and no-one was hurt.”

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Armed police outside the NatWest branch.

Phillips added: “The man’s motive is unclear at this stage but it doesn’t appear this was a robbery attempt. 

“Staff did exactly the right thing in remaining calm and I’d like to praise their actions in what was undoubtedly a scary situation.

“Thankfully we managed to bring it to an end very quickly.” 

Police said that the suspect was detained at about 1pm and the road was opened a short while later.