Tests show bank bomb scare a hoax
The high street bank bomb alert which sparked a three hour stand-off with armed police was a hoax, tests have revealed.
A device strapped to the 23-year-old suspect's leg when he walked into a Co-operative bank was "not viable", police said.
The man brought Watford town centre to a standstill after he threatened to blow up the bank on Thursday morning.
Armed police and the military attended the stand-off before he gave himself up to officers.
As the man was being quizzed at a nearby station, Hertfordshire Police confirmed tests showed the device was harmless.
A spokesman added: "We would like to reassure the public that there is no suggestion at all that this is linked in any way to terrorist activity."
The dark-haired man, wearing a white shirt and black trousers, sparked panic after walking into the bank, on Market Street, and making threats at around 10am.
Chief Inspector Mike Pryce said dozens of police officers, including specialist firearms teams, surrounded the scene as a cordon was put in place.
"What unfolded over the next few hours was a complicated and fast-moving situation, which came to a successful and safe resolution with a suspect agreeing to surrender," he said. "This was achieved through the assistance of bomb disposal experts from the Ministry of Defence."
With locals looking on, the man was forced to his knees outside the bank as he eventually gave himself up. Witnesses described police marksmen aiming their guns at the bank and reported rumours that the man had a bomb strapped to his body.