Man arrested on terror charge after maternity ward evacuation in Leeds

Police set up cordon at St James’s Hospital following incident

A bomb disposal unit was called after a suspicious package was found at St James's Hospital in Leeds. PA
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A man was arrested on Friday on suspicion of a terror offence after he was allegedly seen with a firearm and a suspicious package at a hospital maternity wing in Leeds.

Counter-terror police arrested the 27-year-old man after emergency services were called to the Gledhow wing of St James’s Hospital on Friday morning.

Army specialists and a bomb disposal unit attended the scene and a cordon was put in place as a precautionary measure, but it was later reduced to enable greater access to the hospital.

The man was initially arrested on suspicion of firearms and explosives offences, but police later announced he had been detained on suspicion of being involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.

The hospital wing is home to the majority of the hospital’s maternity services, as well as some respiratory and bereavement services.

Counter-Terrorism Policing North East, which is leading the investigation, said searches of a car and the premises are ongoing — and the suspect, from Leeds, has been detained for questioning.

Police said this is being treated as an isolated incident and there is not believed to be any risk to public safety.

A member of the bomb disposal unit wearing protective equipment at St James's Hospital in Leeds. PA

Superintendent Dan Wood of West Yorkshire Police said: “This incident was brought to a safe conclusion by the work of the emergency services, and a man has been arrested in connection with it and remains in custody.

“We are continuing to liaise with our counter-terrorism colleagues as they progress their investigation.

“We recognise that an incident of this nature will cause understandable public concern and we are linking with our partner agencies and key community representatives to reassure them and keep them informed.”

Updated: January 20, 2023, 11:41 PM