Knaresborough drama - As it happened

8.50pm - Officers investigating the incident in which armed officers shut down Knaresborough High Street this evening have confirmed the situation arose as a result of a hoax call.

A force statement read: “The incident began when North Yorkshire Police and a neighbouring police force received information that there was an immediate threat to members of the public at a business premises in Knaresborough.

Image supplied (s)

Image supplied (s)

“Our primary concern was to ensure the safety of members of the public and an immediate response to the incident was put in place.

“Following extensive and swift enquiries following the calls, officers established that the calls were in fact, malicious hoax calls.

“Officers have thanked the staff and owners of Paragon Pizza - who were the target of the hoax call - for their full cooperation during this incident. The incident has caused them considerable distress.

“To date no-one has been arrested, The Major Crime Unit is now conducting an investigation into the incident to bring the person or people responsible for the malicious communications to justice. To date no-one has been arrested.”

Assistant Chief Constable Paul Kennedy said: “This was a very alarming incident for members of the public and we would like to thank the communities of Knaresborough for their patience and cooperation while the police dealt with it. This includes the businesses who were affected by the safety cordons and the premises at the centre of the hoax.

“We treat incidents of this nature with the utmost seriousness and can assure members of the public that a full investigation is now underway to establish who is responsible.”

8.30pm: Harrogate Borough Council says emergency procedure has been relaxed.

8pm - Police have evacuated an area around So Bar on Knaresborough’s High Street as Harrogate Borough Council’s emergency procedure has stepped into action.

- People are being accommodated at Knaresborough house for the night

7:35pm - Matalan have confirmed there have no incidents at their store or at the retail park.

6pm - Armed Police are still at the scene of a major incident in Knaresborough, which saw the town put into virtual lockdown.

More than 250 pupils at St James’s School were shut inside the main hall after reports of an armed gun man in Knaresborough town centre.

Police have not yet confirmed what is happening but said: “Police are currently dealing with an incident in the High Street area of Knaresborough.

“As a precaution, the High Street has been closed and pupils at a nearby school have been asked to remain inside for the time being.

“We will keep you updated with developments.”

Local officers added: “There is an ongoing incident. It is under control. There is no threat to the general public at this time.”

A Matalan shopworker confirmed there was no armed robbery at the store on St James Retail Park.

He said: “There has been nothing going on up here at all.”

Another early report suggested a person had been held hostage in the town centre’s So Bar on Briggate at about 4.30pm, although this is not confirmed.

Knaresborough King James’s School has now confirmed that around 250 children were kept inside for over an hour.

“It was at around 4.30pm so there was around 250 children doing extracurricular activities,” said a teacher at the school.

“We took them all into the main hall and went into lock down.”

Desperate parents not knowing what was happening took to Facebook and Twitter.

One mother said: “I’ve got three kids there and trying to get to them. I’ve heard it’s an armed gun man in Knaresborough. Trying to get to them and they are only allowed to leave if picked up by adult.”

Another Tweet said: “Friend is locked down in King James’s School. They are quite frightened because they don’t know why they are locked in.”

The school have just been told (5.40pm) that it is okay to allow the children to leave the school.

“We weren’t told anything about what was happening,” he added.

Maurice Bardon, who owns a shop in the market place said: “There was a lot of police, a lot, but we weren’t told to close the shop or stay indoors.

Swimming pool manager Suzanne Bore added: “There are lots of police around, but we haven’t been told anything so just were open as usual.”

4.30pm: One early report has suggested a person has been held hostage in the town centre’s So Bar on Briggate at about 4.30pm, although this is not confirmed.

Police have not yet confirmed what is happening but said: “Police are currently dealing with an incident in the High Street area of Knaresborough.

“As a precaution, the High Street has been closed and pupils at a nearby school have been asked to remain inside for the time being.

“We will keep you updated with developments.”

Local officers added: ““There is an ongoing incident. It is under control. There is no threat to the general public at this time.”

More will be published as we get it.