COMMUNITY spirit shone through after Grimethorpe residents were told to pack their bags and evacuate after a number of suspicious items were found at a property.

The bomb squad descended on Brierley Road on Wednesday morning after South Yorkshire Police placed a 100-metre cordon around the house on Brierley Road.

Overnight, the evacuation zone was reduced to just three houses, whose occupants are expected to have to stay out of their homes until this evening.

The local community came together to support all those affected, with food and essential items donated to the nearby St Luke’s Church which was used for shelter.

Thanks to residents, Asda, Playdays Nursery, Manor Bakeries and former Barnsley FC player Bruce Dyer who runs a sports ground in the village everything from fruit and vegetables to sanitary products were donated.

Churchwarden Bryan Danforth told the Chronicle: “We were having mass that morning.

“About halfway through an officer turned up at the door he told me that they’d declared a major incident and they want to use the church as an emergency evacuation centre.

“We had no qualms about that we already had a coffee morning taking place, so we were all geared up.

“The people already working stayed as long as they could and then we had volunteers coming in.

“Considering the circumstances, with people who didn’t really know what was happening, the atmosphere was good.

“People were at ease, we were pouring lots of drinks and chatting with them to keep their mind at ease.

“The community really came together.”

People with disabilities and additional needs were assisted by council support workers, who ensured they had all necessary items and an appropriate place to stay overnight, with some sent to hotels.

Barnsley Council leader Sir Steve Houghton added: “The community reaction has been brilliant.

“They’ve co-operated and worked closely with emergency services and the council.

“It’s been hugely disruptive for them, particularly the older residents, but they’ve been great and I can’t thank them enough.

“There’s always been a strong community spirit in Grimethorpe and it really came to the fore on Wednesday.

“All our emergency planning worked like clockwork the council, fire, police, ambulance services and the armed forces were all involved.

“But it wouldn’t have worked without the co-operation of the community, and it’s that community engagement and spirit that made it work.”

Assistant Chief Constable David Hartley said: “Our heartfelt thanks go to the local residents of Grimethorpe for their co-operation and patience.

“We know this has caused disruption to people’s daily lives and appreciate their understanding that public safety must come first.”

Police confirmed the incident was not terrorism-related.

A 57-year-old woman and 58-year-old man were arrested on suspicion of offences under the Firearms Act. The woman was further arrested on suspicion of possession of class A drugs with intent to supply.