England

A1 road reopens near Catterick after 'explosion'

Police patrol A1 roadside
Image caption Police closed a six mile (10km) stretch of the A1 after reports of an explosion near Catterick Garrison

The A1 road has reopened after a day of police searches following reports of an explosion near Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire.

Police closed the busy route throughout Saturday after reports that an explosion was heard near Marne Barracks at 03:00 GMT.

Officers conducted searches across the area where the noise was reported but found no obvious signs of an explosion.

No-one was injured and police have ruled out any links to terrorism.

Image caption Police said the road was closed to protect public safety

North Yorkshire Police said eight members of the public came forward to report hearing what they described as an explosion in the area.

The initial call was made by staff at the barracks.

Supt Dave Hannan said police kept the road closed for so long, which caused mass congestion and frustration for thousands of motorists, for public safety.

He said: "We are satisfied that the call to the police was made with good intent.

"In view of the location of the suspected explosion, the source of the information, the current threat to UK security and a report a few hours earlier of a vehicle seen in suspicious circumstances outside the barracks, we were not prepared to take any chances with people's safety and had to carry out a very extensive and thorough investigation.

"Officers have worked throughout the night and day to identify and locate the driver of the vehicle and we are now satisfied that he was not connected to the reported explosion and we have now eliminated him from our enquiries.

"We have also ruled out any link to terrorism.

Image caption Extensive searches have been carried out but the cause of the reported noise remains a mystery

"We may never find out what the source of the explosion was, however, following the search and investigation I am now satisfied that there is no threat to members of the public.

"A number of possibilities have been looked into, however, there is no information or evidence to say this reported explosion was a criminal or deliberate act."

During the course of the search, the Army's bomb disposal unit was called to the discovery of the box of ageing detonators near the perimeter fence of Marne Barracks, these have now been removed for safe disposal.

They have been ruled out as the cause of the reported explosion.

A spokesman for Catterick Garrison said the inquiry was police-led and did not have any information about how close the explosion was to the barracks.

On the Ministry of Defence website, Catterick Garrison is described as the army's "largest training establishment".

It covers 2,400 acres (971 hectares) and 20,000 acres (8,094 hectares) of training land.

The garrison is situated just a few miles from the A1 and also includes the outstations of Ripon, Dishforth and Topcliffe.

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