University of Portsmouth student arrested over ‘suspicious device’ scare evacuation at Catherine House faces no criminal action

A STUDENT arrested after bomb disposal experts detonated a 'suspicious device' outside a hall of residence has been told he faces no criminal action.

Hundreds of University of Portsmouth students were evacuated from Catherine House in the city centre in April when components of a 'suspicious device' were discovered in a room by staff.

Police at Catherine House in Stanhope Road Portsmouth on April 20 the morning after a suspicious device was found in the building. Picture: Ben Fishwick

Police at Catherine House in Stanhope Road Portsmouth on April 20 the morning after a suspicious device was found in the building. Picture: Ben Fishwick

Bomb disposal experts cordoned off an area in Victoria Park and carried out a controlled explosion on the parts as students remained outside the Stanhope Road tower block.

Police arrested a 20-year-old from East Sussex under the Explosives Act 1883 over the April 19 incident.

A Hampshire police spokesman insisted a ‘full and thorough investigation’ had taken place with a ‘careful review of all the evidence’ – and no criminal actions were uncovered.

Police have refused to disclose details of what was found in the student’s bedroom.

The spokesman confirmed the arrested student had been told he faced no further action in August.

‘The safety of the public is our priority, which is why we took the level of action we did during this incident,’ the police spokesman said.

‘All calls that come into our control room are risk assessed before a deployment decision is made.

‘A risk assessment of the circumstances of this incident was conducted at the time of the call, on the basis of the information provided to us.

‘In addition to police and emergency services, an explosive ordnance team was called in, as is routine in these situations, and a controlled explosion of the object was carried out in Victoria Park.

‘As a precaution, the building was evacuated.

‘A full and thorough investigation was carried out, and following a careful review of all the evidence provided to us, no criminal offences were identified and a decision was made to release the man arrested with no further action.’

In a statement at the time, Michelle Miles, operations manager at Catherine House, said it was the 'diligence'of her team that 'brought this matter to the attention of the police'.

A university spokeswoman said: 'Any further action by the university would be in line with our own internal processes. We are unable to comment further.’