Police say man arrested after ‘suspicious object’ found in Stanhope Road student halls in Portsmouth is held under the Explosives Act

The bomb squad dealing with a suspicious item in Stanhope Road
The bomb squad dealing with a suspicious item in Stanhope Road
Andrew Corrigan

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A 20-year-old who is being questioned by police after a ‘suspicious item’ was discovered in a student hall of residence is being held under the Explosives Act 1883.

The man, who is from East Sussex, was taken into custody last night after emergency services cordoned off Catherine House on Stanhope Road following reports of a ‘suspicious object’ being found.

The item was found inside a student’s room, The News understands.

Today Hampshire police said he was arrested on suspicion of knowingly having in his possession or under his control an explosive substance under such circumstances as to give rise to a reasonable suspicion that he did not have it under his possession or under his control for a lawful object.

Hundreds of University of Portsmouth students were evacuated from the building as a bomb disposal team were called in at 4.18pm yesterday.

According to a first year accounting and finance student, who did not want to be named, police officers had informed her that there was a bomb inside the building.

She said: ‘Police officers were talking to other students saying there’s a bomb inside. That’s what I heard, that there was a bomb and the bomb disposal team was inside.’

A 22-year-old biology student who also lives in the block said police had refused to say what was going on. She added: ‘The fire alarm went off and I looked outside to see if it was a fake and there were loads of people outside and everyone was rushing out.

‘The police were saying “make your way as far away from the area as possible. It was crazy’.

The team carried out a controlled explosion on the object in Victoria Park.

No-one was injured in the incident and students were allowed back into the building at around 10.30pm last night.