Armed police scramble to Halifax bank after man ‘pours petrol on himself’

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Armed police have rushed to a Halifax bank in Blackpool after a man "poured petrol on himself and furniture" inside the branch.

Police responded to reports that a man on a mobility scooter had poured petrol inside Halifax bank in Church Street, Blackpool, at around 2.10pm on Monday, September 28.

A standoff has now been ongoing for two and a half hours following the incident and a police negotiator is at the scene, although police have said it is not a hostage situation.

No members of staff remain inside the building and a large area of the town centre has been evacuated and cordoned off by police.

Greggs, Ladbrokes and Nandos branches are some of the businesses to have been evacuated.

Crowds who had gathered to watch the scene unfold have been moved away from the scene, and officers are asking members of the public to stay away.

A police helicopter, several fire engines, ambulance crews and a drone have been seen in the vicinity of the incident.

Wendy Swain was shopping in Marks and Spencer when she was told to evacuate the store.

She told the Blackpool Gazette: "We were told that a serious incident was happening but not what sort. The first thing I thought was a bomb or terrorist attack.

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"I'm thankful to have got out to be honest even if it wasn't happening in M&S."

Another eyewitness, who wished to remain anonymous, said the man "appeared to pour petrol over himself" before threatening to set himself alight.

"Someone said he poured petrol on the bank manager as well," they added. "It's something you don't expect on a Monday afternoon in Blackpool, especially with the pandemic."

"When we got outside someone said that a man had gone into Halifax and poured petrol over himself.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: "We were called at around 2:10pm this afternoon (Monday, September 28) to the report that a man on a mobility scooter had entered the bank and poured petrol inside.

"There are currently no members of staff left in the bank building, however, the man is still there. A negotiator is on the scene."

In a statement, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said:

"We were called at 2.13pm to assist the police at an incident at the Halifax Bank on Church Street, Blackpool.

"We have sent two fire engines from Blackpool and another one from Bispham and firefighters are on standby to assist the police.”

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