Page last updated at 13:07 GMT, Friday, 18 April 2008 14:07 UK

Residents 'shocked' after arrest

By Dickon Hooper
BBC News, Bristol

News of a controlled explosion and the arrest of a terror suspect had travelled fast.

Rachel Clifford and Douglas Tiernay - and the media scrum
Some 30 people were evacuated, including Rachel Clifford and her fiance

The media and residents were on the streets of the affluent suburbs in the north of Bristol along with many uniformed police officers - keen to offer reassurances.

According to neighbour Rachel Clifford, 32, the detained man had only been at the city council-owned one bedroom flat for a few weeks.

"You wouldn't have known he was there - apart from [occasional] loud music," she said.

That changed late on Thursday night when police, fire crews and the bomb squad officers arrived in the quiet cul-de-sac of Comb Paddock, sandwiched between Southmead and Westbury-on-Trym.

Some 30 residents - including Ms Clifford and her 36-year-old fiance, Douglas Tiernay -were moved out in the early hours to stay with family or at a local primary school, doubling as an evacuation centre.

I thought a bungalow had gone up

A controlled explosion was carried out at about 0200 BST on Friday, with the arrest of a 19-year-old local man having taken place some time before.

One resident, who asked not to be named, said she heard the controlled explosion in the middle of the night.

"I thought it was an explosion, someone's gas boiler blowing up. I guessed it was near, I thought a bungalow had gone up."

Ms Clifford spoke of her "shock and bewilderment" at what had happened, but said the evacuation had been "very quiet and peaceful, not chaotic".

"It was very well done," she added.

Police in Comb Paddock, Westbury-on-Trym
Residents may not be allowed back in until later on Friday

Farooq Siddique, director of the Bristol Muslim Cultural Society, told the BBC the arrested man was a British Muslim.

"We have a long history of very good community relations here and people have worked very hard to keep it that way," he added.

"The Muslim community supports the work of the police."

Most of those evacuated - including several elderly people - were taken to a city centre hotel, protected by police officers.

Local beat officers are also speaking to neighbourhood watch organisers.

The reaction was mixed - one man said he had not learnt anything new about what was happening.

But Jill Perry, of Henleaze, said the police had promised them closer community policing just the night before, and the meeting was a good example of that.

Either way, life in and around Comb Paddock will not be the same for some time to come.


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