A 54-year-old “amateur chemist” remains on police bail after dozens of residents had to be evacuated from their homes.
Residents of Oxford Street said they were “shocked” when they awoke to police officers ordering them to leave, over fears “dangerous” chemicals had been stockpiled at a house.
At least 40 homes had to be evacuated, and as neighbours left in their droves for the Spa Royal Hall on Thursday August 4, police and army explosive experts arrived to make safe the suspect chemicals.
Speaking from Bridlington Spa, resident Carol Small, 61, said: “It’s chaos. It’s not every day you get someone arrested for having something in their house.”
Another neighbour who did not want to be named, added: “Initially my wife phoned me to say they were at the entrance to the man’s house with a battering ram.
“They didn’t use it in the end and had quite a quiet entry.
“A few minutes later I saw him handcuffed, coming out of his house. Then we saw the Scene Of Crime Officers go in and that’s pretty much it.”
All of Oxford Street, and some of Cambridge Street, were cordoned off by police for the planned operation.
Residents were instructed to go to Bridlington Spa if they could not find alternative accommodation.
They were allowed to return home at around 10pm on Thursday night, but were told to evacuate again by 8am the following morning.
The cordon had also prevented a number of businesses on Quay Road from opening, including Boots Pharmacy, Tower Pizza and The Telegraph pub.
Salman Turuskan, proprietor of Tower Pizza, said the cordon had cost him and his staff money.
He said: “I was getting ready for work when the police said I needed to leave.
“The police didn’t tell me anything - just to leave.
“We are losing customers and it could affect our business. They should compensate us for loss of business.”
The arrested man, who police said was detained under the Poisons Act, is believed to run a chemical supply business from his Oxford Street address.
The company’s website says its customers included the University of Manchester, the University Liverpool, Burberry London, British Petroleum. BAE Systems, Pepsico International and Harvey Nichols.
In an online blog, the man says he is “a chemical enthusiast serving the chem and pyro community with chemicals, professionally, competitively and courteously”.
A neighbour also described the man as an “amateur chemist”.
While residents were given free food and drink at Bridlington Spa, a number of loud bangs were heard at Oxford Street.
A police spokesman said: “Working with partner agencies we have now disposed of the higher risk chemicals. The remaining chemicals are being processed and removed on Friday night and Saturday morning.
“The risk is now negated and as such, the cordon has been removed from the streets and will now only include the house.
“The man arrested has this afternoon been released on bail and will be monitored. He will in due course be free to return to his home once police and scientists have cleared the scene.
“We want to reassure residents that the risk was associated with the chemicals and not with the individual.”
Despite fears the cordon could have been in place for up to three days, residents were allowed to return home for good at around 6pm on Friday.
They have since praised staff at Bridlington Spa for their hospitality and providing them with food and drink.