Hundreds evacuated from flats carrying pets and bags as bomb squad lockdown area

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People have been seen carrying their pets out of the building as flats are being evacuated in Manchester.

A 100m cordon is in place around Deansgate Square following the discovery of a 'potentially suspicious item'.

The bomb squad is on its way to the scene as emergency services line Owen Street.

Police are urging people to stay away as residents have been notified by email and Whatsapp to vacate the buildings, Manchester Evening News reports.

A statement from Greater Manchester Police reads: "Emergency services are currently in attendance at Owen Street in the Deansgate area of the City Centre, following the discovery of a potential suspicious item.

"A number of flats have been evacuated as a safety precaution and a 100m cordon is currently in place whilst EOD make their way to the scene to make an assessment.

"We are working closely with GMFRS and NWAS to ensure this incident is dealt with quickly and safely."

A notification sent to residents reads: "Due to a police incident, please could you evacuate the building immediately, please could you message any communal WhatsApp groups please could you add it onto these and request all towers to evacuate."

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Reporter Lyell Tweed has been tweeting from the scene, writing: "This is the Whitworth Street West side, police tape is blocking every street into the towers.

"Residents are camped outside the towers as police carry out work.

"Much more police on Chester Road, can’t see too much going on but people so seem to be able to walk inside the cordon still."

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Resident Hannah Whitehead told local news reporters: "We have an app for the Towers for announcements, and we got a few messages telling people to evacuate ASAP.

"It was telling people to let all their friends to evacuate. We evacuated and the police have turned up and told people where to go, and a cordon has been put in place.

"There's tape all around, there's lots of police and the bomb squad have turned up now. It is quite frightening.

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"There's been a few more announcements saying that anyone left in the flats need to evacuate now.

"We spoke to a police officer who said it'll probably be a few hours until we can go back inside. There is a 100m cordon around from the train station near the Atlas Bar.

"We are just waiting now. Everyone is bringing out their dogs and cats."

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