University of Portsmouth releases statement after suspicious device found at Stanhope Road student halls

The University of Portsmouth and the owner of a student halls where a suspicious device was found last night have both issued statements.

Friday, 20th April 2018, 4:47 pm
Updated Friday, 20th April 2018, 4:51 pm
Police at Catherine House in Stanhope Road Portsmouth on April 19 after a suspicious device was found in the building. Picture: Byron Melton

The Student Housing Company, which owns Catherine House, in Stanhope Road, has said its team’s ‘diligence’ brought the incident to the police’s attention – but did not give further details.

Hundreds of students were evacuated just after 4.15pm yesterday when a bomb disposal team was called in to the city centre site.

A device was destroyed in a controlled explosion in nearby Victoria Park later yesterday evening.

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A 20-year-old man, from East Sussex, has been arrested under the Explosives Act 1883 and is in custody being quizzed by police.

Michelle Miles, operations manager at Catherine House, said: ‘The diligence of our team brought this matter to the attention of the police and in light of this being an ongoing investigation, we are unable to comment further.

‘Our focus at this time is on supporting those concerned by the incident be that residents, our neighbours or indeed parents.

‘Whilst the police have confirmed that no-one was injured, nor is there believed to be any wider or ongoing threat to the public, their community support officers will remain on site to reassure and answer any questions that students may have.

A police car parked outside Catherine House in Stanhope Road, Portsmouth, earlier tonight. Picture: Byron Melton

‘We will of course continue to liaise with them and the University team, supporting the investigation in any way we can.’

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A bomb disposal team at Catherine House in Stanhope Road Portsmouth on April 19 after a suspicious device was found in the building. Picture: submitted

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A University of Portsmouth spokeswoman said: ‘This is a police matter and the university is unable to comment about any investigation.

‘However we are working closely with Hampshire Constabulary to offer every support they need with their enquiries.

‘There is not believed to be any ongoing threat but the welfare and wellbeing of our students is our utmost priority and we are offering support to students who may have concerns.’

A police car parked outside Catherine House in Stanhope Road, Portsmouth, earlier tonight. Picture: Byron Melton
A bomb disposal team at Catherine House in Stanhope Road Portsmouth on April 19 after a suspicious device was found in the building. Picture: submitted