• Widespread armed police presence
  • Car with four men was stopped by officers
  • High Street was closed
  • Children were kept in school
  • Local bars told to keep doors locked

York Press:

An officer outside Yorkshire Building Society in High Street.


York Press:

Officers outside The Board Inn


York Press:

Officers outside The Board Inn (all pictures by Nigel Holland)


8.44pm UPDATE: TONIGHT'S major armed police incident in Knaresborough was a false alarm sparked by a malicious hoax, police have said.

>> Read the new story here.



ARMED police have been dealing with a major incident in the centre of Knaresborough.

Two men are known to have been arrested by armed police in the town this afternoon, and officers have been dealing with an incident in the High Street which began before 5pm. 

A cordon around the Yorkshire Building Society and surrounding businesses in the High Street was removed at 8pm. 

Witnesses say a car with four men was stopped in Briggate, at its junction with Gracious Street and the men were removed from the car. A witness said two were put in handcuffs.

A spokesman said: "The incident in Knaresborough remains ongoing and is contained within an area of the High Street.

"Police do not believe the wider community is at risk. However, all necessary precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of the public.

"No-one has been hurt and although armed officers have been deployed to the scene, a firearm is not believed to be involved.

"A number of men are co-operating with the police to assist with enquiries, but they have not been arrested."

She asked people to avoid "unnecessary speculation".

At King James School  pupils were only allowed to leave if collected by parents.

A spokesperson for the school said this was for safety reasons. Police confirmed at 6pm that all children had been allowed to leave the premises.

Mark Lee, landlord of The Old Royal Oak in Market Square said: "There are swarms of police with guns telling everyone to get back. 

"First thing I saw was a blue car with all the doors wide open. The occupants have been taken out but I could only see one guy police were talking to."

Mr Lee said police were stopping all traffic into the town, and local buses had also been prevented from entering the town.

Christine Thompson, who runs the Give It a Whirl shop beside where the incident happened, said: "Police came down Windsor Lane to Gracious Street. There were nine vehicles including three unmarked ones.

"They stopped a car coming up Briggate and they made four men get out. They searched them and put handcuffs on two then they had six police dogs and policemen with guns. They were here three quarters of an hour."

There were widespread rumours of an armed robbery in the town, but this was not confirmed by police.

Police asked The Frazer Theatre in High Street to cancel tonights showing, of Beyond Reasonable Doubt, as they feared they may have to evacuate the building, said ticket-holders Kathy and Peter Braunton.

The couple, who live in Aspen Lane, said they arrived home and saw a large police presence. He said an officer told them they did not believe there was need to panic.

Another local resident Ben Llewelyn, 25, who lives next door to Paragon takeaway in High Street, said: "I finished work at Argus at 6 o'clock and got a phone call from my mum saying I would not be able to get near my house. Police said there was no chance of getting there for a couple of hours and said to get somewhere warm."

Staff and customers at So! bar were told not to leave the building and keep the door locked.

A barman at another nearby pub said: “There are loads of rumours about an armed man going around town but nobody knows anything for sure. We are all in here trying to figure it out. Police are outside diverting traffic away.”

Tina Potts, of Drakes Fish and Chip shop, said: "There are police everywhere and there's armed police and dog units. No one can get anywhere."