Hartlepool bomb hoax accused bailed

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A HARTLEPOOL man has been arrested and bailed in connection with a bomb scare which resulted in hundreds of workers being evacuated from offices and shops.

The 34-year-old, from the town, was arrested in Gateshead yesterday on suspicion of alleged malicious communication.

It came after staff were evacuated from Virgin Media centres in Middlesbrough and Stockton after reports of a “suspicious package” yesterday morning.

Cleveland Police had received an anonymous report at about 10.55am to say that a suspicious package may be located in a Virgin business premises.

However, the anonymous caller only mentioned the company name and did not identify which of the store’s Teesside sites.

Officers and police dogs were called in to search the Virgin Media contact centre, at Preston Farm Business Park, Stockton, and the firm’s retail store in the Cleveland Centre, in Middlesbrough.

Two fire engines were called to each site as a precaution.

A spokeswoman for the force said bomb disposal experts were not called, and only would have been if a package had been found.

Officers found nothing untoward and the Middlesbrough premises was declared safe and the cordon removed at about 3.15pm. It is not known how many workers were evacuated.

The larger Stockton premises, which has 300 workers, was clear by 4.30pm.

The spokeswoman said: “A 34-year-old man arrested on suspicion of malicious communication has been bailed pending further investigation.”