Tottenham Court Road siege live: man arrested after hostage threats

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A man alleged to be carrying a bomb has reportedly taken hostages in an ongoing incident in Central London.

Office buildings were evacuated after a man was reportedly seen carrying up to six canisters strapped to his back.

Windows of an office block were smashed and computers and paper were being thrown from a fifth floor window as horrified workers walked out with their hands in the air.

An onlooker said the man, named as Michael Green, had walked into the offices of Advantage, a logistics company which offers HGV courses, on Tottenham Court Road. She said he had threatened to blow himself up before taking four hostages, including the company director and three salesmen.

One woman pleaded for her life, claiming she was pregnant in order to escape.

It was claimed that Green had failed an LGV training course three times and stormed the building to demand his money back.

A Scotland Yard spokesman declined to comment as the situation was unfolding but a source said the man was not a terrorist and it was not considered a “serious” incident.

“It appears at this stage that the man either has mental health problems or has a personal grievance against a company,” the source said.

The force took to Twitter to ask the public with information about the incident to go to Holborn Police Station.

Armed police and fire engines were called to the scene, at Shropshire House, at around midday. Trained hostage negotiators were believed to be communicating with the suspect by telephone and a 300 metre cordon was put in place.

Police snipers were also said to be taking up position on nearby rooftops and helicopters hovered above.

Abby Baafi, 27, the head of training and operations at Advantage, a company which offers HGV courses, described the incident in a video posted online.

She said the man had targeted her offices and was currently holding four men hostage.

"We were in the office and someone came in and we asked him what his name was and he said he was Michael Green. I recognised him because he was one of our previous customers but he's not quite mentally stable.

"He just turned up, strapped up in gasoline cylinders. Basically. he threatened to blow up the office. He said he doesn't care about his life, he doesn't care about anything, he's going to blow up everybody.

"He was specifically looking for me but obviously, I said my name's not Abby and I'm three months pregnant so he let me go."

Miss Baafi said she had lied about the pregnancy just to escape.

"It was the most terrifying experience of my life," she added. "I have never felt so scared. There were 12 of us in the office. He just came in and said he wanted to kill us all.

Onlooker Massimo Zeppetlli told the Daily Telegraph: "i was walking along the street and heard loud bangs. I didn't see anything hit anyone.

"People started saying the man had gas canisters attached to him and had four hostages."

Kasia Lynch, 26, who works in an office in the same block, said they were told to evacuate because of a gas leak.

"Police were beginning to close the street but I didn't see the incident," he said.

"I think we were told it was a gas leak so that everyone remained calm and moved out the building as quickly as possible.

"That was at 12.30 and my manager told me to return in an hour but I don't think that will happen."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/9231407/Tottenham-Court-Road-siege-man-arrested-after-hostage-threats-live.html

I hope you guys are ok. Is this affecting the Tube?
 
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Goodge Street (Northern) and Warren Street (Vic + Northern) are closed owing to this (16:49) and have been for the past couple of hours. Strange event, not caught up in it myself, but have been sort of following it on News 24
 
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