A BOMB scare in Newport yesterday [THURS] saw a shopping park evacuated, streets closed off and a controlled explosion take place.

Following the scare, a Newport man was arrested on charges relating to bomb hoaxes.

A bomb disposal squad used a white robot to blow up the suspicious package, which was lodged under a fire door at the back of Wickes hardware store at the Harlequin roundabout, near Shaftesbury Park.

Shortly after 11.30am, dozens of Gwent Police vans, ambulances and two fire engines attended and cordoned off the end of Barrack Hill, Evans Street and the top of Malpas Road, blocking all traffic to the roundabout.

An underpass leading from McDonald's restaurant on Lyne Road, to Wickes and Aldi supermarket on the other side, was closed as well as pedestrian walkway passing close to the stores.

Both Wickes and Aldi staff were evacuated as a precaution and some nearby residents were also advised to leave their homes, Gwent Police said.

At around 12.30pm, one of the fire engines put up its ladder in the centre of the roundabout and a bomb disposal van, manned by people in military gear as well as police officers, unloaded a white robot.

Around 20 minutes later there was a short, loud bang from the back of the store, which shares the same site as Aldi supermarket, as the parcel was blown up against a fire door.

Forensics teams then moved in to investigate and emergency service personnel began to leave the scene. A Gwent Police spokeswoman said the package was found not to be an explosive device.

A 27-year-old Newport man has been arrested under section 51 of the Criminal Law Act, which is applicable to bomb hoaxes, and was in custody as the Argus went to press last night.

A spokesman for Wickes said: "The safety of our employees and our customers has been our main priority, and we fully supported the police in their work to ascertain the nature of the package discovered at our store in Newport.

"Once we received clearance from the police we re-opened the store at 4.30pm today."

Bus services along Malpas Road were disrupted for three hours and shoppers were unable to return to their cars until the controlled explosion had been carried out.