A MAN will appear in court tomorrow following a police operation which saw the A689 closed for 20 hours and the bomb squad called to a site Middlesbrough.

Simon Flint, 42, of no fixed abode, will appear before magistrates in Newton Aycliffe on Monday 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.

A statement from Durham Police said: "At approximately 3.35pm on Friday, police were called to an incident in the Bishop Auckland area after reports that a man had threatened youths with a crossbow.

"Shortly afterwards, police arrested a man in a vehicle on the A689 near Coundon Industrial Estate.

The Northern Echo:

"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.

"As part of the police operation, a search warrant was also executed at an address in the Cleveland Police area."

The Northern Echo understands this is the compound on Dockside Road, near the Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough, which has been cordoned off since this morning. Army bomb disposal experts are at the scene.

The Northern Echo:

Army experts in Middlesbrough Picture: Incidents on eesside and County Durham

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”.