Dressed in a Muslim veil and surrounded from all angles by armed officers, this was the astonishing scene yesterday as a tranquil seaside resort was plunged into a full-scale terror alert.
Scores of officers carrying sub-machine guns and wearing full protective uniform descended on Saltburn-by-the-Sea, near Middlesbrough, at 11am after reports that a woman had a bomb in her bag.
During a dramatic stand-off with police negotiators, the woman – said to be local to the area – was ordered to place the rucksack on the ground.
In the tense moments that followed, a police helicopter hovered overhead as she was then told to drop to her knees while keeping her hands up. As negotiators continued to talk to her, she was instructed to get to her feet and walk away from the rucksack.
As officers trained their weapons on her, they watched every step towards the seafront before ordering her to sit on a nearby bench.
Once there she placed her hands on her head.
The terrifying stand-off went on into the evening as Army bomb disposal experts headed to the scene from nearby Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire, to carry out a controlled explosion on the rucksack.
Witnesses said the woman, who was white and wearing a dress with a veil, had earlier been to a hardware store in the town and purchased items. Read More