St James's Hospital: Counter terror police conduct searches after bomb scare

St James's Hospital bomb scare
Counter terrorism police were called to St James's Hospital in Leeds. Credit: PA

Counter terrorism police have carried out searches of a vehicle and properties after a suspicious package was found outside one of Yorkshire's biggest hospitals.

Wards at James's Hospital in Leeds were evacuated and services faced disruption for much of Friday after a police cordon was put in place outside the Gledhow Wing while investigations were carried out.

In a statement on Friday afternoon, Counter Terrorism Police (CTP) North East revealed that they had arrested a 27-year-old man on suspicion of firearms and explosives offences, after he was allegedly found in possession of a suspected firearm and a suspicious device in the hospital grounds.

The statement added: "There is not believed to be any ongoing risk to public safety. A cordon remains in place as a precautionary measure, but has now been reduced to facilitate greater access to the hospital. Specialist teams continue to work at the scene.

"Searches of a vehicle and a number of premises are ongoing."

A bomb disposal unit at St James’s Hospital, Leeds Credit: Ben Lack/PA

The CTP said officers were working to establish the full circumstances of the incident and "any potential motivation" but it was being treated as an isolated incident.

People were being advised to use alternative entrances to the hospital, but the emergency department remained open, and patients were asked to attend outpatient appointments as normal unless told otherwise.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust earlier said inpatients on the maternity unit were "safe and receiving the appropriate maternity care", but expectant mothers not on site should not attend St James's, but go to Leeds General Infirmary instead.

"Maternity patients with an appointment planned today at St James's will have been contacted by our teams and rescheduled" the trust said.

It added that the walk-in service for anyone planning to attend the hospital for GP bloods was not available.