POLICE have given the all-clear after a six-hour search of a disused brewery following reports that a gunman had been spotted inside, causing traffic chaos in Sheffield.
Officers say there is “no substantive evidence” to back up the initial report.
South Yorkshire Police thanked the public for their patience after traffic delays and other disruption caused by the alert at the Cannon Brewery site in Sheffield, but said, “in the current climate, we will always take any report of this nature seriously”.
Officers sealed off a large part of the Neepsend area of the city after receiving reports that a man had entered the site with a gun at about 5.15am on Friday.
Workers were let back into their workplaces and cordons were lifted at about 11.15am, following the search by armed officers.
A spokesman said: “Officers have now completed a thorough search of the disused brewery following reports made to police this morning that a man had been seen entering the site in the Neepsend Lane area of Sheffield, and he was believed to be in possession of a firearm.
“Following the search and inquiries carried out, police are confident there is no substantive evidence to this report and want to reassure the public there is no threat or danger following the incident.”
Superintendent Scott Green said: “In the current climate, we will always take any report of this nature seriously and put measures in place to ensure the safety of the public as this is, and will always be, paramount.
“I want to thank the public for their patience and understanding with this incident, as there has been major disruption in Sheffield this morning and we appreciate this has caused significant traffic delays and people being unable to attend their place of work and go about their daily business.
“I would always encourage anyone to report incidents of this nature to the police, as we will always take action to ensure the city is kept safe and free from harm.”
Those at the scene said streets, including Penistone Road which is the second busiest road in Sheffield after The Parkway, were more congested than usual.
There have been major delays around the Neepsend Lane area.
Workers in industrial units who had been prevented from entering the sealed-off streets said the focus of police attention was the old Cannon Brewery, where Stones Bitter was brewed until the 1990s.
They said the large site is completely derelict and sometimes used by squatters.
Travel South Yorkshire also said traffic was being ‘diverted via alternate narrow routes, likely to cause significant traffic at Shalesmoor and Bridgehouses, delays.”
Workers and residents caught up in the chaos spoke of their fears.
Stephen Younger, aged 57 and from Clowne, works at Credit Style nearby.
He said: “He could be anywhere. This is so disturbing.
“Unfortunately it is the way of the world these days - you are not safe anywhere.”
His colleague Georgia Fletcher, aged 19, added: “It’s normally quiet here to have a gunman on the loose is worrying and scary.
“You just don’t know why he is carrying a weapon this days it is frightening.”
Local resident Ben Monnie, aged 38, added: “It’s concerning that there a gun man reported at large, this is a major bus route and a residential area there are lots of young people and families.
“It’s normally very quiet here. I’m quite shocked, I have only lived in Sheffield for 18 months and gun crime here isn’t something I have heard of.”
Ian Fox, who works locally, said: “We just came down Rutland Road and it was blocked off with a police cordon.
“It’s not very good at all, is it?
“In this day and age it seems to be more rife than ever.
“It’s an inconvenience, yes, but it’s good that they’re protecting the public.”
Neepsend is one of Sheffield’s oldest industrial centres is now mainly made up of industrial units and derelicts sites. It is not a residential area.