Man is charged over van explosives find.
Byline: KEANE DUNCAN firstname.lastname@example.org @keanedunk
A MAN has been charged with having an explosive substance after two major police operations in Middlesbrough and County Durham. Bomb disposal experts and armed police attended an industrial compound on Dockside Road, near the Riverside Stadium, from Saturday night.
Police have now confirmed the incident is connected to the 30-hour closure of the A689 near Bishop Auckland, County Durham, on Friday and Saturday.
Simon Flint, 42, of no fixed abode, will appear before magistrates in Newton Aycliffe today charged with possession of an explosive substance, possession of an offensive weapon, possession of pepper spray, possession of a bladed article in public and a public order offence.
Durham Constabulary said they were called at 3.35pm on Friday to the Bishop Auckland area after reports of a man threatening youths with a crossbow.
Shortly afterwards, police arrested a man in a vehicle on the A689 near Coundon Industrial Estate.
A spokeswoman said: "A section of the road was closed while specialist search teams examined the vehicle.
"During the lengthy search, a number of bladed weapons and a quantity of explosive material was recovered.
"The road was reopened late on Saturday night once the search and forensic examination had been completed."
A search warrant was also executed at an address in the Cleveland Police area, understood to the operation at Dockside Road.
Containers at the Dockside Road site have been opened up by police as part of the investigation.
Images captured at the scene show boxes marked 'pyrotechnics', as well as bags of mineral vermiculite bagged up in the yard.
The cordon was initially erected outside the site of the compound but extended to include a section of Dockside Road by mid-morning.
The site is close to the start line for the Ali Brownlee Middlesbrough 5k run.
The event continued as normal as the cordon had not been extended at the time the race started at 10.15am.
Detective Inspector Peter Lonsdale, of Bishop Auckland CID, said: "We would like to thank the public for their patience during what has been a complex search operation which made it necessary to close the road for some time.
"We are aware that this will have caused some disruption, but our priority is the safety of the public. "We would like to stress that at this stage this appears to be an isolated incident and we are satisfied that there is no threat to the wider community."
A forensics team does a search of the camper van on the A689 at Coundon