UK Police evacuate Birmingham city centre

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Saturday, July 9, 2005

Broad Street, Birmingham (this photo was not taken recently)

Police are in the process of evacuating Birmingham City Centre and part of the Ladywood residential district after having received intelligence regarding a possible threat. An estimated 20,000 people are being moved. Nightlife sites are being closed and people are being told to go home. The evacuation was begun at about 8.15 p.m. (1915 UTC) after the police issued a "Public Warning". Cars are being prohibited from entry inside the Inner Ring Road, and New Street railway station, the hub of the British passenger railway system has been closed.

A police spokeswoman said that the investigation was 'proportional' to the threat, but refused to comment on details of the threat. "West Midlands police are now closing down the Broad Street entertainment zone and asking people to leave Birmingham town centre and go home," said the spokesman.

BBC Radio Five Live and Sky News have unconfirmed reports of controlled explosions in the city's Chinatown district.

A BBC News 24 correspondent reports that the Police have prevented motorists from returning to their cars and hundreds of city revellers are filing their way on foot along Bristol Road to converge on the Edgbaston Cricket Ground.

In a press conference, West Midlands Police Assistant Chief Constable Stuart Hyde said that the intelligence they received is not believed to be connected to Thursday's terrorist bombings in London.

Earlier in the evening a controlled explosion on "a suspect package" had been carried out on a bus in Corporation Street, but they "no longer believe it was suspicious device".

It appears that this was a hoax, unconfirmed reports on Australian Teleivision have reported. The evacuation order was lifted at about 6 a.m.

Broad Street is the City's best-known entertainment area and is home to hundreds of bars and clubs.