Armed Police called to Digbeth charity offices to control hostage situation
Armed police were mobilised on the streets of Digbeth at the heart of Birmingham’s Irish Quarter when a man took two women hostage at a the offices of a charity in Alcester Street.
The area was closed off as police surrounded the offices of the mental health charity Bita Pathways, next door to the popular Spotted Dog pub, shortly after 3pm on Wednesday August 19.
Three ambulances and five police cars waited at either end of the cordoned off area.
The man had locked himself and two members of staff in one of the offices but after a tense stand-off the siege ended peacefully a few hours later.
At around 7.30pm one of the women hostages was helped out of the building by officers.
As she was led away by two police officers, the woman appeared distressed, holding her head in her hands. She was taken to an unmarked police van and treated by paramedics.
The second hostage was freed around 8.15pm and a man was arrested – marking the end of the drama.
Police arrested a 31-year-old man.
They said the he was not armed and the incident was not believed to have been pre-planned.
A West Midlands Police spokesman said: “A man was arrested after two women were held hostage at a charity in Digbeth. The man, who is unconnected to the charity, entered the building around 3pm unarmed.
“We would like to thank the public for their patience and support while his incident was resolved safely.”
The spokeswoman added that it was not initially clear what the man’s motives were and that both women received appropriate support after their ordeal.
A police cordon remained in place for some time while police continued their enquiries.
Alcester Street had been cordoned off along its entire length and customers, including 30th birthday party revellers, were turned away from the Spotted Dog pub next door.
Nearby buildings were evacuated while a specialist negotiator began a dialogue with the man.
A worker at Millicents Hair and Beauty salon, a business only feet from the police cordon, said: “There were loads of police officers. They had shields and batons.
“I watched them go to the front and round the side. There were several ambulances here and what looked like a jeep, an undercover vehicle.”
Bita Pathways provides a range of education, volunteering and employment services for adults with mental health problems.