Detectives investigating an escalating family feud had to call in bomb disposal experts after explosives were found in a raid on a Leeds business.
Staff working in other buildings close to the premises in Pearson Street were evacuated yesterday morning following the discovery of “dismantled fireworks” by police.
Officers executed a search warrant at the business, off Leathley Road close to the Crown Point retail park, at about 8.30am as part of ongoing inquiries into a series of disturbing incidents in Beeston.
In the last year there have been more than 30 offences – including cars being rammed into buildings, vehicles being torched and physical assaults – linked to a fall-out between rival members of the same family.
Under standard practice, specialist Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) soldiers were alerted to the site following the discovery of the fireworks. Leathley Road was cordoned off while investigations were carried out.
Jim Young, who works at Saville Audio Visual, off Leathley Road, had to leave work at about 10.15am.
He said: “There had been police in the area from around 9am, but there are places round here that have been raided for cannabis before and we assumed it was something to do with that.
“Then about an hour later two plain clothes police officers came in and said we needed to get out as soon as possible.
“One officer told my colleague they had found a suspicious package.”
He said there was a number of unmarked vehicles and a van from Catterick Garrison in the area.
Mark Wilkinson, who also works nearby, said: “A police van pulled up outside Costco and the road was blocked off at both ends.
“There wasn’t any real activity for about an hour or so then a police man came to the door and we were all told to leave. Then a bomb squad truck pulled up.
“They wouldn’t actually tell us what it was about, we were just told to leave the area.”
Police have made a number of arrests as part of their inquiries into the trouble in Beeston.
A spokeswoman said the cordon was lifted at about 1.15pm after the premises were deemed safe and enquiries were ongoing.