Riot police raid flat after chemical scare

Police and fire crews in protective chemical clothing at the incident in Clovenstone Park. Pic: Phil Wilkinson
Police and fire crews in protective chemical clothing at the incident in Clovenstone Park. Pic: Phil Wilkinson
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RIOT police raided a flat in the Capital after a man barricaded himself inside and claimed to have dangerous chemicals.

Police with riot shields finally stormed the flat in ­Clovenstone Park just after 5pm yesterday after a tense stand-off lasting more than three hours.

Ambulance staff and firefighters were also called, and the full length of the street was cordoned off late yesterday afternoon as police negotiators spoke to the man.

When their attempts to convince him to come out of the first-floor flat failed, police with masks and riot shields gathered in the stairwell along with men in full biohazard overalls. Negotiations appeared to be continuing inside the building until police were heard hammering on the door, eventually breaking it down and charging into the flat.

The emergency services swooped on Wester Hailes at around 2pm following reports that the man was in possession of toxic chemicals.

A police spokeswoman said: “Police Scotland can confirm that one man has been detained in connection with an incident which occurred in Clovenstone Park.”

Police confirmed the emergency services were still at the man’s flat late last night carrying out checks to make sure there was no danger to the public.

Tom McGrath, group manager for the fire service, said emergency services had responded to reports of an “unknown chemical within the flat”. It is understood these claims, which were later revealed to be false, had been made by the occupant of the flat.

Mr McGrath said: “We got the initial call at about 2pm to an unknown chemical within the flat. We were in attendance to fully support the police in dealing with this incident. We deployed men in gas-tight suits to confirm the presence of chemicals or not.

“At this stage it can be confirmed that no chemicals are present. They are now double-checking the property to ensure the safety of the atmosphere.”

“The multi-agency work was extremely effective and brought about a safe and positive outcome to the incident.”

The incident saw the street filled with several fire engines, ambulances and police vehicles and numerous staff from all three emergency services.

Asked about the expense involved in responding the false alarm, Mr McGrath said it had been “costly”. But he also stressed that this had been necessary to ensure public safety.

Neighbours said the man in the flat appeared “agitated” and had been heard shouting at police.

He was heard banging repeatedly on the window before punching through it, shattering the glass and injuring his hand.

One man said: “I saw him banging on the window and then I saw him put his hand through it. There was blood on his hand.”