Armed police respond after man 'pours petrol on himself' inside Halifax bank in Blackpool
A man has reportedly "poured petrol on himself and furniture" inside a Halifax bank in Blackpool town centre.
Police rushed to reports a man had poured petrol "on himself" inside Halifax bank in Church Street at around 2.10pm today (September 28).
Eyewitnesses say the man, who "looked to be in his 80s", had threatened to ignite the fuel, prompting armed police and fire crews to respond.
Officers have confirmed no members of staff remain inside the bank and nearby buildings have been evacuated.
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: "We were called at around 2:10pm this afternoon (Monday, September 28) to the report that a man on a mobility scooter had entered the bank and poured petrol inside.
"There are currently no members of staff left in the bank building, however, the man is still there. A negotiator is on the scene."
A police helicopter, several fire engines, ambulance crews and a drone have been sent to the scene, and a cordon has been put in place along Church Street and St John’s Square.
Wendy Swain was shopping in Marks and Spencer when she was told to evacuate the store.
She said: "We were told that a serious incident was happening but not what sort. The first thing I thought was a bomb or terrorist attack.
"When we got outside someone said that a man had gone into Halifax and poured petrol over himself.
"I'm thankful to have got out to be honest even if it wasn't happening in M&S."
Another eyewitness, who wished to remain anonymous, said the man "appeared to pour petrol over himself" before threatening to set himself alight.
"Someone said he poured petrol on the bank manager as well," they added. "It's something you don't expect on a Monday afternoon in Blackpool, especially with the pandemic."
Two fire engines from Blackpool and one from Bispham are on standby, and vans from Electricity North West and Cadent Gas have also been spotted in the area.
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More to follow...