RESIDENTS and workers at Hartlepool Marina spoke of their shock and confusion after police swooped on the usually peaceful area.
Police vans arrived at Navigation Point at around 8.50am yesterday as officers quickly responded to a link between the area and yesterday’s earlier explosion.
They soon began to clear the flats, shops, restaurants and pubs before moving onto the boats moored nearby.
The focus of the probe seemed to be a flat above V Bar and a 600ft cordon was created around the entrance using police tape.
Both ways into Navigation Point were shut off as police vehicles blocked the roads and the bridge over the marina’s lock were closed.
The cordon had started near the Spices restaurant but slowly spread out to Rosie O’Gradys Irish bar and then Marina News. People were advised to leave the marina all together.
Rosie O’Gradys manager, Adam Tarbah, 23, was not supposed to be at work so early, but went in as he expected deliveries.
He said: “No-one could get in so it proved a bit pointless. The police told us we might as well lock up and go home.
“At around 8.50am, loads of police had turned up and started trying to get people off the marina.
“They evicted the flats and began talking to people on the boats, but no-one really knew what was going on.
“All I was told was there had been an explosion and the hospital was on high alert, people were confused and didn’t really know what was going on.
“There was a strange atmosphere because we didn’t really know how bad it was.”
Krimo Bouabda, who owns Casa Del Mar, which was at the centre of the police cordon, said: “My workers went to go into work this morning and they rang me to say they couldn’t.
“The helicopter was up and police were everywhere, then we heard a car had blown up. It was a lot to take in and we didn’t know what was going on or what to expect.
“We were not being told anything, but followed what the police told us to do.
“You don’t expect this kind of thing down here, it’s obviously very bad for the businesses as well.”
Det Supt Gordon Lang used his Press conference to appeal for people to be patient.
He said: “It is important that people remain patient as their safety is paramount while the experts carry out their job.”