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Evacuation of Sudbury town centre after 'suspicious package' found

PUBLISHED: 17:49 31 January 2018 | UPDATED: 10:38 01 February 2018

A police officer stands outside Barclays Bank in Sudbury after a suspicious package was found.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A police officer stands outside Barclays Bank in Sudbury after a suspicious package was found. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Sudbury town centre was evacuated today after reports that a "suspicious package" had been found in a rucksack inside a bank.

Police were called at 1.10pm following the discovery at Barclays Bank on Market Hill and a police cordon was immediately put in place while staff were evacuated from the building.

A bomb disposal team from Colchester was called to the scene and the object was found to be safe following an examination. The cordon was lifted around 5pm.

Police said the object will now be transferred to a forensic laboratory for further testing and they will continue to investigate the circumstances of the incident.

The town came to a near standstill as the bomb scare drama unfolded, with shops and businesses evacuated from Market Hill and many roads in the area, including Station Road, Friars Street and Gainsborough Street, closed to traffic.

The bomb disposal unit arrives in Sudbury. Picture: LLOYD SMITHThe bomb disposal unit arrives in Sudbury. Picture: LLOYD SMITH

Waldingfield Road was also closed during the afternoon to stop traffic entering the town centre.

Jodie Budd, Sudbury assistant clerk, said the town council provided teas and coffees to the evacuees and emergency service personnel from the town hall during the afternoon.

Firefighters investigate the scene in Sudbury.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNFirefighters investigate the scene in Sudbury. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A spokesman for Suffolk police said: “Police were called shortly after 1.10pm this afternoon after a suspect package was found in a rucksack at Barclays Bank on Market Hill.

“The building was evacuated and army explosive ordnance disposal officers were called to the scene.

A cordon is in place in Sudbury following reports of a 'suspicious package' in Sudbury. Picture: LLOYD SMITHA cordon is in place in Sudbury following reports of a 'suspicious package' in Sudbury. Picture: LLOYD SMITH

“After careful examination the object was safe to remove and it will now be transferred to a forensic laboratory for further examination and police will investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident.”

Superintendent Kerry Cutler thanked people for their patience during the incident.

A police officer stands outside Barclays Bank in Sudbury after a suspicious package was found.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNA police officer stands outside Barclays Bank in Sudbury after a suspicious package was found. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

She said: “Steps to evacuate the area were taken in the interests of public safety and we thank everyone for their patience and understanding during the course of the afternoon.

“Police enquiries into this incident continue and we are appealing for anyone with information to call us.”

A cordon is in place in Sudbury following reports of a 'suspicious package' in Sudbury. Picture: LLOYD SMITHA cordon is in place in Sudbury following reports of a 'suspicious package' in Sudbury. Picture: LLOYD SMITH

Anyone with information in relation to the incident should contact Suffolk police on 101, quoting CAD 153 of Wednesday or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.

An army spokesman said: “A bomb disposal team from Colchester Troop, 621 Squadron, 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment Royal Logistic Corps was called out to Market Hill, Sudbury just after 1pm on Wednesday, January 31.

Firefighters investigate the scene in Sudbury.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNFirefighters investigate the scene in Sudbury. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“The alarm had been raised after the discovery of a suspect item. Suffolk police evacuated the area and requested EOD support.

“The object was inspected and recovered for forensic examination. The incident is being investigated by Suffolk police.

Firefighters investigate the scene in Sudbury.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNFirefighters investigate the scene in Sudbury. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“We would encourage the public to raise the alarm if they do have concerns about any suspect items they find and not to touch or move them. It is better to be safe than sorry.”

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