Derbyshire Police say Clay Cross bomb scare 'was hoax'

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Media captionAn Army bomb disposal team was called and residents were evacuated to a leisure centre

A bomb scare that led to the evacuation of 50 people from a Derbyshire town was a hoax, police have said.

Derbyshire Police said they had been called to Clay Cross at 02:25 BST following reports of a parked car which was arousing suspicion.

Officers said they arrested two men who were with the car, one of whom told them there was an explosive device in the vehicle.

An Army bomb disposal team was called and residents were evacuated.

Residents in the Victoria Street area were taken to the Sharley Park Leisure Centre and roads within 100m (328ft) were closed.

'Absolute pandemonium'

Derbyshire Police said: "As a precaution homes in the area were evacuated and the army bomb disposal team was called to the scene.

"The car was thoroughly examined by experts and it was confirmed there were no explosive devices inside it. Police are treating the incident as a hoax. "

The two men remain in police custody and will be questioned later today.

Insp Glenn Hoggard from Derbyshire Police said: "We are treating this extremely seriously."

The police said residents have returned to their homes and roads in the area have been reopened.

"I want to reassure residents they have never been at risk," Insp Hoggard said.

Residents said the inquiries related to a Vauxhall Astra which was parked near Victoria Street.

Image caption Several roads have been closed in Clay Cross and motorists have been urged to avoid the area

Darren Murray, operations manager at local business SDL Minorfern, said: "We arrived at [07:00 BST] to absolute pandemonium.

"There were police cars, vans and bomb disposal cars everywhere."

He said staff from the company, which distributes car parts, had advised the bomb disposal team how to get into the vehicle.

"The car is parked behind the back of our head office and it's believed to be full of petrol cans," he said. "We lent tools to the army disposal unit and showed them how they would get into the vehicle.

"It's been a big surprise to all our staff - it's been a big shock."

'Half asleep'

Andrew Dunn lives at 11 Victoria Street. He said: "[At] round about [04:30 BST] we had a knock on the door from two policemen.

"They said they had found a suspicious vehicle on the street and we had to leave immediately. I was half asleep. I got my stuff together and left.

"Everybody was shocked and stunned. It's normally pretty quiet round here."

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