Lockdown as man threatens to blow himself up

Police snipers and heavily armed officers put several blocks of central London’s shopping district into lockdown after a man allegedly armed with gas canisters entered an office building and threatened to blow himself up.

Michael Green, 49, was arrested hours after a stand-off with police at Advantage, a training company near London’s Tottenham Court Road that offers tests for truck drivers.

He allegedly failed the HGV training course and wanted his money back.

It was also reported that the man was throwing computers and other equipment out of a window.

A shirtless man in green khaki pants was seen being led out with his hands behind his back by two unarmed officers.

British media had claimed that the man was holding people captive, but police said they were “not aware of any hostages”.

An Advantage employee interviewed by The Huffington Post identified the suspect as a former customer and said he had come in “strapped up in gasoline cylinders”.

“Basically he threatened to blow up the office,” Abby Baafi, 27, told the news website.

She said he had asked for her by name but pretended she was not the person he was looking for.

The Huffington Post’s UK editor Carla Buzasi said that her organisation’s offices shared a fire escape with Shropshire House, where Advantage is headquartered. She said that two men ran into their offices when the suspect arrived, sending “a ripple of panic” across the newsroom.

The Huffington Post’s offices was one of several buildings in the area evacuated as police with heavy weapons and riot gear got into position. Several blocks were cordoned off and subway stations were closed as office equipment was chucked from a fifth floor window.

“He threw 10 computers,” 26-year-old construction worker Martynas Vristiuk said, adding that one of the computers landed on a police car.

The three-hour-long siege turned the normally bustling Tottenham Court Road into a ghost town. The motive behind the standoff wasn’t immediately clear.

Rajesh Kalia, of Goodge Law solicitors, who works two floors below where the incident was unfolding in Shropshire House, said: “We were in the office and suddenly we were told by the police that there was some problem in the building and asked to evacuate immediately.

“The police were very clear about the instructions. There was no panic or anything but they were very firm and got everybody out of the building very, very quickly.

“I overheard someone say that there was a man in there with some wires coming out of his jacket. Now, I don’t know how much of that is true but that’s the impression they gave us.

“They mentioned something about a flame-thrower, the jacket and wires coming out of it, and that’s about it.”

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