South East Wales

Friars Walk: 'Newport suspicious vehicle not terror-related'

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Media captionRobot inspects 'suspicious vehicle' in Newport

A "suspicious" car and item in Newport are not believed to be terror-related, police have said.

Gwent Police was called to a car parked by Friars Walk, as well as a second suspicious item near the George Street bridge on Thursday afternoon.

The shopping centre was evacuated and roads closed while specialist officers used a robot to inspect the car.

Cordons were lifted shortly after 20:00 BST and all city centre roads reopened after several hours.

A force spokeswoman said both incidents were "now under control and are not believed to be terror-related at this time".

Eyewitness Ryan Hiscott said he heard loud bangs coming from a bomb disposal robot as it approached the vehicle.

He said the robot removed a number items from the vehicle, including two rucksacks and a smaller bag, before exploring its interior.

But, he said, there was "no major fear factor".

The A4042, the main road past Friars Walk, was closed in both directions for nearly five hours and there were long traffic jams while police carried out their investigations.

Officers said a window on the vehicle had been smashed, but no controlled explosions had taken place.

Newport council worked with Newport Transport to arrange buses for those people who had been evacuated.

Newport Bus said its network was "still severely disrupted" and delays would go on into the night.

Elsewhere, all classes and activities at Newport Centre and The Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre were cancelled and the buildings were closed.

The Friars Walk car park has since reopened and the company said there would be no charge to customers when they exit.

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