THE security cordon that has been in place around a Grimethorpe road all day following the discovery of ’suspicious items’ is being scaled back so some residents can return to their homes.

Around 130 homes in the Brierley Road area were evacuated after police executed a search warrant at an address just after 7am this morning.

Residents were initially warned they might not be allowed to return to their homes for up to 48 hours but this evening, police scaled back the cordon to properties within 60 metres of the address at the centre of the alert.

Police say the cordon may have to be in place for 72 hours while they continue to search the house. Road closures remain in place and people are still being urged to stay away from the area.

Experts from the army’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal team have been at the scene all day and several organisations including the council and the local church have been working together to ensure any residents affected by today’s developments have had somewhere to stay.

A rest shelter has been set up at St Luke’s Church although the Chronicle understands most residents had managed to secure alternative accommodation for the night at friends, neighbours or at local hotels.

Assistant Chief Constable David Hartley, gold commander, said: "Our heartfelt thanks go to the local residents of Grimethorpe for their continuing cooperation and patience as we carry out our work. We know this has caused disruption to people's daily lives and appreciate your understanding that public safety must come first. We will continue to update you as we have more information to share."

A 57-year-old woman has this afternoon been arrested on suspicion of offences under the Firearms Act and is currently in police custody.

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A 58-year-old man who was earlier arrested on suspicion of offences under the Firearms Act remains in custody.

Earlier this evening, residents who had been out for the day and returning home were being told they couldn’t go beyond the cordon.

Among them were Eileen Swan and partner John Quigley left her taxi only to be told that she wouldn't be able to get home, and police said they couldn't tell her when that would change.

She told the Chronicle: “I've not been told what's going on or how long we'll be out here. We were on our way home when our driver said we had to get out early and we couldn't get home.

“They've told us they can't say how long we'll be waiting.

Similarly, Julie Kearford, who said she's ‘lived here all my life', is still waiting to find out whether she will be allowed back home.

Nevertheless, she complimented the police and council for their swift response.

“By the time I came down I was stopped and told something was going off with the bomb squad.

“I just can't believe it. I've seen that some people are being taken to hotels, which is good for people who need extra help.

“We've just got to go along with what they say now – it's just a bit of a nightmare. Something like this brings everything to a standstill.”