Police said tonight that they have arrested a 42-year-old man following today’s bomb scare on the Downend/Fishponds border in which 460 homes were evacuated.
The man was arrested in the Emersons Green area on suspicion of a placing an article with intent to cause a bomb hoax. He has been taken into custody for questioning.
Hundreds of people spent more than eight hours in rest centres after being evacuated at around 6am amid fears that a bomb had been left near a car that had been doused with petrol.
Police threw up a 200-metre exclusion zone around Cassell Road, Grace Road and Kimberley Road and residents were not allowed back to their homes as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team worked at the scene .
Controlled explosions were carried out near what was believed to be a silver BMW car parked in Cassell Road.
But at 2.15pm the police said that no explosives had been found and the scene was considered safe and that officers would start getting people back to their homes.
After being woken early this morning by the police, residents were directed to rest centres including the Downend Tavern, left, Fishponds police station and Christchurch Junior School in Pendennis Road.
Landlord of the Downend Tavern Danny Barker said that when police banged on his door early this morning he thought it was a raid. He was asked to look after residents and was happy to help, giving them hot drinks.
Among those evacuated from Cassell Road were Steve Moxon-Riedlin and his family. Initially they took refuge in the police station but came to stand near the sealed-off road in the late morning to see what was happening. “Everyone has been very calm. It’s all so surreal that it’s difficult to be panicky,” he said.
Also evacuated were Rehana Lodhi, her children Yasmin, Burhan and Sophia, and her husband Mohammed Rizwan, who live opposite where the car was parked on a driveway. Yasmin said that when the police called at the house they said that the vehicle had been doused with petrol and that everyone had to leave.
Mrs Lodhi said that she had been concerned for an elderly, disabled neighbour but he was subsequently brought out by ambulance crews and taken to be with a relative.
Chief Supt Geoff Spicer thanked residents for their co-operation and patience.
“Public safety is a priority for us and the exclusion area was set up as a necessary precaution.
“We believe this is an isolated incident and could be linked to an ongoing dispute and we are progressing lines of enquiry.”
Anyone who saw people acting suspiciously in the Cassell Road area last night is asked to call the police on the 101 number.
Last month a bomb scare closed part of Mangotsfield. That suspect device, believed to be a watch with some sort of canisters, a phone and wire attached, was discovered on the edge of Rodway Common, near Mangotsfield School. The bomb squad detonated the device which turned out to be a hoax.