Landlord of flat at centre of bomb probe speaks out

Police searching the property on Springfield Street, Swinley
Police searching the property on Springfield Street, Swinley

The landlord of the Wigan property at the centre of an intense police search in connection with the Manchester bombing has spoken of his relief it has come to an end.

Speaking exclusively to Wigan Today, he said his other tenants now want to return to normality after a fortnight of fear and uncertainty.

A 33-year-old arrested in the town centre last month by armed police had been staying at the flat but was not the tenant, the landlord said.

He was released without charge by Greater Manchester Police after two weeks in custody.

The landlord, who asked to remain anonymous, said both this man and his tenant will not be returning to the Springfield Street property.

He said: “The person who was (arrested and later) released was not a tenant of mine, he was a lodger that I was not aware of.

“He will not be coming back to the flat and my tenant has surrendered his lease and moved out.

“The most important thing is for my other tenants to return to their normal lives without the press knocking on their doors every five minutes.”

Armed police stormed the terraced property in the early hours of Thursday, May 25, the day after the 33-year-old was arrested on Upper Dicconson Street.

Police maintained a presence with two evacuations called in the intervening days with cordons enforced and bomb disposal officers called in.

The landlord, who lets out several properties along Springfield Street and who has been helping police with their enquiries, said: “It’s a big relief, I have been mainly worried about my other tenants with the evacuations.

“Not knowing, I think, is the most worrying thing, not knowing what’s going on. I only knew about the raid and the evacuations from my other tenants and through the media.

“It’s completely understandable because obviously they (the police) can’t tell us anything about the investigation. But it has been difficult.

“I feel relief because once they finished the search, they are no longer guarding the place for 24 hours, now they will be able to do something else.

“My tenants had to sign in and out with the officers, even to put the bins out.

“I’m sure they’ve done a thorough job.

“I want people to understand that the building is full of tenants who deserve their privacy.

“There has been panic, we all saw it with the helicopters in the sky and reporters and police everywhere.”

He said he hoped the completion of the search would put minds at rest within the local community.

“Some neighbours have been saying who have you got here? Every single tenant of mine is vetted and interviewed, I have to know who they are before they go in.”

The flat that was subject of the search will now be renovated, the landlord added.