UPDATE: Hastings man in custody over ‘bomb hoax’

The bomb disposal drone
The bomb disposal drone
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The incident that caused Hastings town centre to be evacuated is being investigated as a bomb hoax by police.

A Hastings man remained in custody following the security alert that resulted in the evacuation of a number of buildings in the town centre today (Friday, December 11).

People trying to find out from police what's going on

People trying to find out from police what's going on

Police were called to the McDonald’s restaurant in Wellington Place at just past 10am after a man went into the premises and placed a bag on the counter.

When officers responded, the bag was deemed to be suspicious and staff were evacuated from the restaurant.

As police left the building a member of the public alerted them that a man had placed another bag in the street.

The 40-year-old man was spotted, was challenged and arrested on suspicion of criminal damage.

An empty Hastings town centre cordoned off by police

An empty Hastings town centre cordoned off by police

An explosive ordnance disposal unit arrived at the scene just after 12pm and dealt with the packages, which turned out to be harmless.

Cordons and road closures were lifted just after 2pm.

Detective Inspector Gavin Patch said: “It was important that we took this matter seriously and that is why we called in military colleagues to deal with the packages safely.

“We did not treat the matter as a terrorist incident, but we are now investigating it as a bomb hoax.

Police closed Queen's Road to traffic

Police closed Queen's Road to traffic

“I would be very interested to hear from anyone who has video or photographs showing the man between the time he entered the restaurant just after 10am and when he was arrested by police officers around 40 minutes later.

“Please don’t send your videos at this time, but email robert.tillyer@sussex.pnn.police.uk describing what you have and we will arrange to get them off you.

“We do not need anything from outside of this timescale or just general footage of the police operation.

“Anyone who may have witnessed a man acting suspiciously in the area in the time leading up to the incident is asked to email 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk or call 101 quoting serial 339 of 11/12.”

The John Logie Baird was shut down on Havelock Road

The John Logie Baird was shut down on Havelock Road

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Queen's Road deserted due to police evacuation

Queen's Road deserted due to police evacuation

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