Update: Armed NatWest siege ends with arrest

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An armed siege at a Birmingham NatWest branch has ended with an arrest of a 60-year-old man.

At 11.45am today a gunman entered the lender’s Northfield branch and took a female staff member hostage in an interview room.

A statement by West Midlands Police says: “It’s understood the 60-year-old produced a firearm from a bag − but no threats or demands for money were made and no-one was injured.”

Officers, including armed police, contained the building and negotiators were sent to the scene.

The man, a local to the area and a NatWest customer, surrendered around two hours after he entered the branch.

He has been taken to hospital for an assessment but is set to be questioned on suspicion of firearms offences.

West Midlands Police force incident manager chief inspector Shaun Phillips says: “Officers quickly surrounded the bank, set-up a street cordon and established phone contact with some staff members who were hiding in a back room.

“It’s understood the man was with one female staff member, while other staff were lying low in another back room. No customers were caught up in the incident and no-one was hurt.

“The man’s motive is unclear at this stage but it doesn’t appear this was a robbery attempt.

“Staff did exactly the right thing in remaining calm and I’d like to praise their actions in what was undoubtedly a scary situation. Thankfully we managed to bring it to an end very quickly.”

A NatWest spokesman says: “We’re aware of an incident that took place in NatWest Northfield this afternoon, which has now been resolved. We’re working closely with the police at this time”.

Mortgage Strategy understands NatWest is also understood to be giving support services to affected staff and that the branch will be shut until at least tomorrow.