Debris and nails were found near a mosque in Tipton following an explosion that was this afternoon being treated as terrorism.
Police evacuated a large part of the town after a loud bang was heard by residents living near the Kanz-ul-Iman Muslim Welfare Association Central Jamia Mosque in Binfield Street.
Residents said shortly after that they had discovered debris and nails.
Roads closures included Sedgley Road East at Dudley Port, Dudley Port at Tudor Court, Jays Avenue at Tudor Court/Tudor Street, Park Lane East at Slater Street, Crompton Road at Martin Road and Victoria Road at Park Street.
Officers were called to Binfield Street just after 1pm and a cordon was set up immediately.
There are no reports of any injuries, but police have evacuated the area as a precaution.
Wasin Kahn, a member of the congregation spoke of how he heard the explosion.
The 23-year-old who lives on Park Lane East in Tipton said: “I heard a loud bang, at first I didn’t think anything of it.
“The police were called and they evacuated the mosque and some houses at the back. There are around 20 police cars here, we just don’t know what’s going on.
A resident of nearby Crompton Road said she was alerted to the incident when she saw police cars racing past her home, she said: “I was about to go out shopping at around 2pm and saw a number of police cars flying down Victoria Road and I thought ‘what’s going on here?’ “I didn’t think much of it then I got a call from friends asking if I was safe.”
John Brown who works at The MOT Bay on Sedgley Road East said: “I heard a bang and it sounded like a gas canister going off but we’re next to a tyre place and I thought it could have been a tyre that had blown.
“As soon as I saw the police coming down here and the streets being sealed off I knew it was something serious. The police helicopter is hovering above us.”
Commercial manager Mark Watton was just yards away when he heard ‘an almighty bang’.
Mr Watton, aged 49, from Bloxwich, was working on his late mother’s house in Coneygre Road at the time.
“The house is the other side of the railway embankment from the mosque, probably less than 50 years away,” he said.
“I was working at the house and heard this very loud bang. It was just after 1pm. I rushed outside but couldn’t see anything or anyone. I popped out to get some spare parts a few moments later and when I came back, 20 minutes later, the whole area was sealed off by the police.”
Police swooped on homes across the Black Country today, including two addresses in Walsall, to arrest people suspected of violent disorder during a protest in the town by the EDL.
Eight men aged between 17 and 59 were arrested during the early morning raids.
Police also seized items of clothing.
It comes after violence erupted in Walsall town centre on September 29 during the English Defence League demonstration.
Officers today swooped on homes across the region including Eagleworks Drive in Walsall and a home in Brownhills.
Homes in Walker Street and Alexandra Road in Tipton were targeted, as well as Coles Lane in West Bromwich, Greswold Street in Hateley Heath and an address in Acocks Green.
Officers have been scouring hours of CCTV footage under Operation Spinnekar since the violence broke out.
Suspects were being interviewed today.
Det Insp Pete Dunn, from Force CID, said: “We have viewed a significant amount of CCTV footage and media footage with view to finding the people responsible.
“Since September we have been working to identify others who were involved in the disorder and now we are in a position to make further arrests, whilst appealing for information to identify other suspects we are yet to trace.”
During last September’s protest, in Leicester Street, a number of police officers and protestors suffered minor injuries.
Around 900 police officers were in the town centre as the protest took place, alongside a counter protest in Gallery Square. Thirty people were arrested on the day.
A total of 27 people have since been charged with public order offences.
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