KNARESBOROUGH HOAX - Police counting the cost as town returns to normality

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Police have said the malicious hoax call which prompted anti-terror police to raid a Knaresborough pizza shop cost the force thousands of pounds.

Anti-terror police, armed with guns and tasers, evacuated the entire High Street on Wednesday evening (October 16), locking down King James’s as they interrogated staff at the town’s Paragon Pizza.

Chief inspector of Harrogate police Ian Thompson said: “This incident caused massive disruption and huge use of police resources.

“We brought in resources from other districts and some of the staff from Harrogate had been on shift since 7am that morning.”

He added: “The total amount will be calculated for the court case, it will be in the thousands.”

The newly launched major crime unit based at Harrogate police station are now investigating the hoax call.

Insp Thompson added: “We are treating it as a major crime and the major crime unit are investigating it.

“We are following information of the times the call was made and what we know about the identity of the caller, which was an anonymous call made that night. Police are chasing up those leads.”

North Yorkshire Police have written to businesses and residents in the town to thank them for their support as Knaresborough returns to normality.

The letter which has been distributed today vows to bring the person who made Wednesday’s hoax call to justice.

“The incident has caused great concern, alarm and disruption to the people of Knaresborough and an investigation led by our Major Crime Unit is now underway to find out who was responsible for the hoax and ensure they are brought to justice.”

Insp Thompson said the town has now returned to normality.

He added: “We are still placing extra officers in the town centre, and visiting business and premises in the town to explain the situation.

“Our officers went in to the pizza premises to see the men last night to provide response and explain things.

“The men were really helpful on the night but we know in situations like that people think about it more afterwards.”

He added:“The police who went to see them noticed they had good wishes cards on the walls of the shop. It looks like the community are really supporting them.”

Paragon Pizza has now reopened, owner Razaul Karim said: “Everything is fine now, things have calmed down.”

Andy Grinter from Knaresborough Chamber of Trade said: “The next day things felt normal in Knaresborough again, no harm was done, and we are grateful for that.

“I did feel reassured by the police response and I think everyone in the town understands that it had to happen.”

He added: “I am dismayed by whatever the perpetrators motivation was for such a prank.”

Anyone who can help police with their investigation should call 101 and ask to speak to Harrogate CID.