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Hoax calls blamed for Knaresborough lockdown


5:07am 17th October 2013

Malicious hoax calls are being blamed for putting Knaresborough in lockdown.

North Yorkshire Police closed the High Street on Wednesday afternoon, after a neighbouring police force recieved information that there was an immediate threat to members of the public at a business premises in the town.

At one stage, pupils at King James's School were kept inside as a precaution.

The incident was brought to a safe conclusion and police have thanked members of the public and Paragon Pizza for their cooperation and patience.

Police say their primary concern was to ensure the safety of members of the public and there was an immediate response to the incident.

Following extensive enquiries, officers established that the calls were in fact malicious hoax calls.

The staff and owners of Paragon Pizza said it had caused them considerable distress.

Mark Lee, landlord of The Old Royal Oak in Knaresborough's Market Place, saw the incident unfold.

He told Stray FM: "I came out to take a resident across to our B&B block, I saw a Volvo saloon with all four doors open and nobody around. After I'd come out of the room I'd shown the resident in, I looked again and it was still all four doors open. I popped my head round, only to see that there were at least five armed police, quite a few uniformed police and they were talking to what appeared to be an Asian man, just at the back of the pub.

"We never get any trouble at all, so for this to happen is very unusual, quite unnerving, but it is very reassuring to know that whatever happens you've got the police that responded fantastically and at great speed."

The Major Crime Unit is now conducting an investigation into the incident to bring the person or people responsible for the malicious communications to justice.

Assistant Chief Constable Paul Kennedy said "This was a very alarming incident for members of the public and we would like to thank the communities of Knaresborough for their patience and cooperation while the police dealt with it. This includes the businesses who were affected by the safety cordons and the premises at the centre of the hoax.

"We treat incidents of this nature with the utmost seriousness and can assure members of the public that a full investigation is now under way to establish who is responsible."

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