AN Irish pub was evacuated after a man held two women hostage in a nearby charity during an armed siege in Birmingham’s Irish quarter.
The man, 31 and of no fixed abode, was arrested and police confirmed today he remains in custody on suspicion of unlawful imprisonment.
The man entered the office of mental health charity BITA Pathways on Alcester Street just after 3pm yesterday.
He held the women hostage in an office for over four hours.
The first woman was released at 7.30pm and the second at 8pm.
The area surrounding the charity office was cordoned off and nearby buildings – including the Irish-run Spotted Dog pub - were evacuated.
A police negotiator was also called in to attempt to resolve the situation.
John Tighe, 68, is the landlord of The Spotted Dog pub and witnessed the events unfold.
“A guy went into the charity office next door and barricaded himself with some members of staff,” the 68-year-old told The Irish Post. “Some of the staff were trying to help, and we called the police.
He said police arrived and based themselves at the pub, where a wedding was due to take place.
The pub’s regulars were also evacuated.
“The police based themselves at the pub and evacuated it,” said Mr Tighe. “There were half a dozen guys, they (the police) looked like they had guns.
“A wedding party was meant to have a party at our pub at five o’clock, we had decorations arranged and a barbeque.
“The wedding party ended up going to the Irish Centre nearby for some drinks. I felt really sorry for the couple.”
When asked if he was shocked by the incident taking place outside his front door, he added: “I’m not really surprised, you see this kind of thing happen in this area.”
West Midlands Police said that the incident is not believed to be pre-meditated.
They confirmed the man was not connected to the charity and that he was not armed when he entered the building.