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Suspicious car prompts evacuation

Hundreds of people had to be evacuated from their homes in the early hours after police carried out controlled explosions following the discovery of a suspicious car.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary said they were forced to move people from their homes in the Fishponds area of Bristol, in the north east of the city, after discovering the vehicle in Cassell Road.

Officers said the vehicle smelt strongly of fuel and could be linked to "an ongoing dispute".

Chief Supt Geoff Spicer said: "I am very grateful to residents for their continued co-operation and patience.

"Public safety is a priority for us and the exclusion area was set-up as a necessary precaution.

"We will be carrying out a full and thorough investigation into this incident now the controlled explosions have taken place.

"At this stage we believe this is an isolated incident and could be linked to an ongoing dispute and we are progressing lines of enquiry.

"The exclusion zone is likely to remain in place until at least 2pm today, so I would advise people to avoid the area, as there are road closures in place."

The Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team was called to the scene and carried out several controlled explosions on the vehicle.

Around 460 homes were evacuated with many residents attending a rest centre set up at a local school.

Completing their search of the vehicle, police said there was no indication of explosives being found inside the car.

However, there remains a large police presence while officers continue their investigations.

It means residents have been unable to return to their homes.

Ch Supt Spicer said: "We are hoping to get all the affected residents back into their homes as soon as possible and I would like to reiterate my sincere thanks and gratitude to residents for their support and assistance.

"I am heartened by the local community's response and I have seen residents, local businesses and the local school all helping each other out.

"As the investigation is continuing, I would encourage anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious in the Cassell Road area yesterday evening, or the early hours of this morning, to come forward."


From Belfast Telegraph