Homes evacuated in Wigan - bomb disposal unit called

Police as they cordon off an area, which stretched on to Wigan Lane, near the Wigan Royal Infirmary. Photo courtesy of Paul Redrobe
Police as they cordon off an area, which stretched on to Wigan Lane, near the Wigan Royal Infirmary. Photo courtesy of Paul Redrobe

A Wigan street was put on lockdown on Thursday evening as police continued to search a property linked to the Manchester bombing.

Wigan lane had been closed between Mesnes Rd and Central Parkway due to a police incident. The public were advised to avoid the area if possible.

Police in Swinley on Thursday evening. Photo courtesy of June Marcroft

Police in Swinley on Thursday evening. Photo courtesy of June Marcroft

Wigan Today understands the man arrested in the town centre yesterday in connection with the Manchester Arena attack had been staying at an address at Springfield Street in Swinley.

A police statement read: "As part of a search at an address in Wigan earlier today, a precautionary cordon was put in place whilst bomb disposal experts carried out an assessment after potentially suspicious items were found.

"The cordon has now been lifted and residents are being returned to their homes, with no controlled explosion having taken place. The search of the address remains on-going.

"We would like to thank the local community for their patience and cooperation whilst enquiries were carried out. Your support was essential in helping us carry out these enquiries swiftly.

An army bomb disposal robot unloaded from a vehicle, in Springfield Street and the junction of  Wigan Lane. Photo courtesy of Paul Redrobe

An army bomb disposal robot unloaded from a vehicle, in Springfield Street and the junction of Wigan Lane. Photo courtesy of Paul Redrobe

"Just to reiterate, the cordon was purely a precautionary measure as public safety is paramount to us as we continue our investigation into the attack at the Manchester Arena."

The police activity on Wigan Lane had restricted access to the infirmary.

Hospital Chiefs released a statement to members of the public who needed to access the building.

A spokesperson for Wigan Infirmary said: "We are aware that people are experiencing difficulties in accessing the hospital via Wigan Lane. We are advising that anyone needing to come to the Infirmary this evening please access the building via the entrance nearest to the cherry gardens pub."

An updated statment read: "At all costs, please try to avoid Wigan Infirmary A&E due to current police incident in surrounding areas."

One eyewitness said: "It's mayhem. There are police here, cordons everywhere and helicopters flying about. You just don't expect things like this to happen in Wigan. It seems surreal."

Evacuated residents had been told to try to find alternative accommodation for the night.

A Wigan pre-school has announced it will close its doors tomorrow as bomb disposal teams swarmed the area.

A statement read: "New Lodge Pre-School, off Wigan Lane, will close for half-term a day early, on Friday, May 26 in light of recent police activity.

“We have taken the decision to start half-term a day earlier so we will be closed on Friday May 26. This is in light of what has happened tonight with the street next to us being evacuated. Please enjoy the half-term and take care.”

AMF bowling in Wigan offered those affected by the evacuation a place to stay. A post on their facebook page read: "Due to the evacuations on Wigan lane, the bowling alley is offering to stay open for anyone needing a place to stay over night."

"We will have refreshments available for anyone that wishes to come down."