Police storm flat after siege

POLICE in riot gear stormed a flat after a man allegedly threatened to burn down a tenement block during a five-hour siege.

The man is alleged to have claimed to have a supply of lighter fuel in the first floor flat in Trafalgar Street, Leith, and made threats to set himself alight and torch the building.

It is understood that police cut off gas supplies to the home during the tense stand-off.

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Residents said around 30 police officers descended on the scene with expert negotiators also drafted in.

Three fire engines, including one with a turntable ladder, were on stand-by throughout the incident, which began at around 8.10pm on Wednesday. Two ambulance crews were also in attendance.

Officers cordoned off the street while negotiations continued until after 1am with the man, who had barricaded himself inside the flat above Bonita's cafe.

Some of the nearby flats were evacuated while only residents were allowed to leave and enter the street.

Eventually a team of officers clad in riot gear stormed the flat and ended the siege.

A resident, who asked not to be named, said: "There was a massive police presence in Trafalgar Street. There were CID officers and even police sniffer dogs. Two of the fire engines were parked around the corner in Pitt Street.

"They were all hanging around in the snow until eventually police went into the flat."

Another nearby resident said: "The police had the area shut off for most of the night. It looked for a while like it was going to go on till morning.

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"I don't think it affected the neighbours too much though because few people were heading out into the cold.

"It's good that it ended safely though. I don't think many of the neighbours evacuated their homes so I'm not sure how serious they thought he was."

A fire service spokeswoman said: "Fire crews were called to Trafalgar Street at around 9.20pm on Wednesday. Crews remained in attendance until after 1am to provide advice, support and assistance."

A police spokeswoman said: "A 36-year-old man has been arrested and charged following a disturbance in Trafalgar Street on Wednesday night, and is due to appear at court at a later date."