Man Arrested After Armed Stand-Off

2 June 2011, 15:01 | Updated: 2 June 2011, 15:58

A three and a half hour siege at a bank in Watford ended when a man who said he had a bomb strapped to his leg gave himself up.

Staff fled the Co-op Bank in Market Street, Watford after the man went in and made threats against them at eighteen minutes past 10.

It is thought he had initially gone into the Nat West bank nearby but left empty-handed after emergency shutters were activated

Armed police were sent to the scene and the area was cordoned off while trained officers talked to the man inside. Traffic was brought to a standstill and roads were heavily congested.

A spokesperson for Herts Police said: "Following a three and a half hour stand-off at the Co-Op bank in Market Street in Watford today, officers from Hertfordshire Constabulary with the support of the EOD (bomb disposal) have in the last few minutes safely secured the arrest of a suspect who had been refusing to leave the bank.

"An explosive device of some kind, as yet we don't know what this is, has been recovered. The suspect is being taken into police custody for further questioning. No members of the public have been harmed, however there was considerable disruption in the town centre."

Solicitor John Marchant, whose offices are in Market Street, said: "We could hear the helicopters and when we looked out the window we could see people being pushed back and cordoned off by the police.

"The traffic has been brought to a standstill, we thought it must have been an escaped criminal but we went outside and they told us it was something at the bank.

"You wouldn't expect this to happen in quiet and peaceful Watford - maybe in central London."