A MAN has been released by police as an investigation continues into a seven-hour stand off that saw a team of armed police surround a flat.

The Star reported yesterday (Sunday) how a suspect allegedly threatened police with weapons after becoming holed up in the property above a Betfred bookmakers in Waterdale Crescent, Sutton during the early hours of Sunday.

When the stand off was eventually brought to a peaceful conclusion shortly after 9.20am on Sunday, officers seized knives, an axe, an imitation firearm and a circular saw.

A suspect was taken to hospital as a precaution and arrested on suspicion of firearms and public order offences.

On Monday a police spokesman said he had been released under investigation while the inquiry continues.

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The drama had seen armoured police vehicles and specialist firearms officers, carrying shields and guns, surround an area of Sutton.

It was feared at one stage that police were being threatened with a gun that had a scope fitted, which led to the armed response teams being scrambled.

In a statement released yesterday Merseyside Police said: "Officers were called to reports of a man causing damage to a betting shop with a hammer at 2.10am on Sunday, July 12.

"When officers arrived the man had retreated to a flat above the premises and was heard causing damage to the flat and was in the flat with a woman, who voluntarily left the premises.

"A short while after officers arrived the agitated male stood on the window ledge of the first floor flat and threatened to harm himself.

"Not long after that the male, who had put on an armoured vest, produced an axe and what appeared to be a long barrelled weapon with a scope and threatened the officers.

"The officers subsequently retreated to a place of safety. Armed response officers attended at the scene and a containment was put in place whilst officers attempted to negotiate with the man inside the flat, who throughout the night threatened to harm himself with an array of weapons.

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"A number of road closures were put in place just before 6am on the junctions of Waterdale Crescent and Gerrards Lane and Robins Lane, Garnet Street, Oxley Street, New Street. Waterdale Place and Lancots Lane were also closed.

"The incident concluded at 9.23am. A number of weapons including knives, an axe and an imitation firearm have been recovered, along with a circular saw that the man was threatening to harm himself with during the containment."

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Many residents awoke to a the frightening scene, nearby Critchley's taxi office and the Red Lion pub.

They have been praised by police for staying calm.

Chief Inspector Steve Brizell, said: "Officers attended at the address throughout the night to ensure the safety of the male concerned and the wider public. After several hours of negotiation the man came out of the premises.

"I would like to thank local residents for their patience and understanding throughout this incident."