All hostages held by knifeman at job centre believed to have been released

Updated: 

All the hostages held by a knifeman at a job centre in Newcastle are believed to have been released.

Police were called to the Jobcentre Plus in Clifford Street in the Byker area in the east of the city on Friday morning to reports that several staff members were being held there.

Specialist negotiators were called in to deal with the knifeman involved, who is thought to have been known to the job centre.

About two and a half hours after the incident began, Northumbria Police said: "It is believed that all the hostages have been released and that the man concerned is the only person who remains in the building."

Eyewitnesses in the area said police cars and armoured officers were on the scene shortly after 8am.

Police said there is no information or intelligence to suggest the incident is terror-related. 

Steven Lawson, of Dickson's butcher shop on Shields Road, said police told him on Friday morning to stay in the building. 

The 42-year-old shop manager said: "Police came in at around 8.15am and said to stay in the front shop. They didn't give us any other detail."