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Police quiz man after office siege
Tottenham Court Road in central London was closed after reports a man wearing gas canisters threatened to blow himself up
Police are continuing to question a man arrested following a siege in central London.
It was reported that the man had entered a building in busy Tottenham Court Road with gas canisters strapped to him and had taken hostages.
The scare sparked a major alert as both Goodge Street and Warren Street Tube stations were closed, businesses evacuated and one of the capital's busiest shopping streets shut.
The suspect was removed from Shropshire House by police officers, who then carried out a search of the building.
Commander Mak Chishty, of the Metropolitan Police, said the 48-year-old suspect was a local man. He confirmed that no hostages were inside the building when the man left, after negotiators had been sent to the scene. The officer said police were concerned that the suspect had explosives or flammable materials. The search of the scene would continue until officers were sure it was safe to reopen it.
Police received emergency calls at midday amid reports that the man was holding people captive inside the building, several floors above ground. Pictures emerged of computer and office equipment apparently being thrown through one of the office windows.
Abby Baafi, 27, the head of training and operations at Advantage Training Services, a company which offers HGV courses, said the man targeted her offices and held four men hostage. Ms Baafi said the man had failed the HGV training course and wanted his money back.
In a YouTube video made by Stephen Hull, executive editor of the news website Huffington Post UK, Ms Baafi said the man, who called himself Michael Green, entered her office.
"I recognised him because he was one of our previous customers, but he is not quite stable - mentally stable," she said. "He turned up, strapped up with gasoline cylinders, and threatened to blow up the office. He said he doesn't care about his life. He doesn't care about anything, he is going to blow up everybody. He was specifically looking for me but I said: 'My name's not Abby' and he let me go."
Sarah O'Meara, who also works for the Huffington Post, said the website's offices in nearby Capper Street were evacuated after the alert was raised by a woman who ran into the building. "A woman ran in off the street saying: 'There is a guy with a bomb and he is threatening to blow himself up' and that we needed to evacuate," she said. "Everyone got out."