Gallery: Man arrested after bomb scare

A MAN was today arrested by police after a bomb scare caused rush-hour chaos in central Ipswich.

A MAN was today arrested by police after a bomb scare caused rush-hour chaos in central Ipswich.

Civic Drive was closed to traffic shortly before 8am after a suspicious object was discovered outside South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court in Elm Street.

Police officers closed off Civic Drive and Elm Street around 8am as a precaution and motorists were forced to find an alternative route.

The police station, opposite the magistrates' court, was also evacuated after the discovery of a suitcase outside the court building.

A bomb disposal team arrived in town to examine the suitcase shortly before 9am.

They declared the area safe by 9.30am and roads were reopened. An hour later a 52-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of sparking the bomb hoax.

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He was due to be interviewed at Ipswich police station later today.

Police set up their Gold Command system to deal with the alert, which was treated seriously because of the opening of the G20 Summit in Docklands.

However officers later came to believe someone left the case outside the court as an April Fool's Day prank.

Police officers were alerted to the case after 7.30am and the evacuation of the police station started soon afterwards.

Prisoners in the cells were distributed to other police stations across the county.

Children from St Matthew's School, on the other side of Civic Drive, were taken into the nearby church for safety.

Police officers were patrolling the cordon and police cars were directing traffic which was backed up to the Willis building.

About 30 solicitors trying to get into Elm Street, to the court or offices in the area, were having to wait at the cordon and were speculating on the nature of the package.

Bomb disposal experts from Colchester arrived at the scene at 8.40am, but Civic Drive was closed during much of this morning's rush-hour causing chaos for drivers in the town centre.

The package was declared harmless at about 9am and the roads were soon re-opened.

However a major police investigation was launched to find out who was behind the prank that brought part of the town centre to a rush-hour standstill.

An employee from nearby Axa said staff were evacuated around 8am.

“At first I thought it was an April Fools joke,” he said. “However, we were aware it might be a potential problem because our London office has been shut due to the G20 protest.”