RESIDENTS were evacuated from their flats in the early hours of this morning after a man was heard shouting that he was going to make a bomb before a bang like a "gunshot" was heard.

Police, ordnance disposal teams, firefighters and paramedics rushed to Gillam Road in Kinson at 12.50am after a Bournemouth council environmental health officer called the emergency services.

It has been reported that the council officer had initially been called to a noise complaint.

Neighbours also saw smoke billowing from the garden of the block after items were set ablaze.

Around 30 people living in the property were woken and evacuated, and a man and a woman have been arrested.

Bomb disposal officers and crime scene investigators remained at the block in the hours after the incident.

Items found inside one of the flats have been assessed. Police say they were household products apparently disguised to look like an improvised explosive device.

The items were ruled not to be a viable explosive device and no controlled explosions were necessary. 

This afternoon, police said residents have been allowed to return to their flats.

Andrew Couch, who lives in nearby Leybourne Avenue, said he heard a loud bang shortly before 1am as he returned from work and let his dog out.

"The dog came tearing back inside," he said.

"I heard this bang. It sounded like a gunshot.

"It was a single loud bang.

"There's always something going on here."

Jennie Dickison, who lives with her young family in a house opposite the block, said she first became aware of the incident at around 6am.

"We just woke up and there were fire engines and bomb disposal units outside," she said.

"It's really scary, especially with everything that's going on in the world at the moment."

One man, who didn't want to be named, said the incident follows a feud between people living in the flats.

"I've heard the loud bang was an aerosol can put on something hot," he said.

"There's been this big response to it but it's a waste of taxpayer's money."

Speaking at the scene, Inspector Malcolm Warriner of Dorset Police said PCSOs will be visiting homes in the area to reassure residents.

"A lot of people were disturbed as a result of this incident," he said.

"The aim is to get residents from this block back into their homes as quickly as possible, and once we're sure it's safe."

He said "unknown items" were found in a flat. As a result, the Military Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team were called in.

Some residents were taken to a temporary location provided by the council.

Gary Josey, director of housing and communities, said: "We have early this morning assisted police in relocating and ensuring the welfare of up to 30 residents from two blocks of residential properties in Gillam Road, Kinson.

"We will continue to assist Dorset Police in any way that we can."

Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Callaghan, of Dorset Police, said: “We are working together with the EOD and partner agencies at the scene to assess the items.

“I would like to thank residents for their patience and co-operation during this time.”

A 42-year-old man from Bournemouth and a 29-year-old woman have been arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life and are currently assisting officers with enquiries.

Speaking this afternoon, Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Callaghan, of Dorset Police, said: “I would like to thank those residents who were disturbed in the early hours of this morning and were evacuated for their patience and understanding.

"We have worked as quickly as possible to resolve this matter and ensure they can return to their homes.

"The public’s safety is paramount and the evacuation was entirely necessary to allow us to establish what the items were and that any immediate threat was dealt with.

"I am grateful to the EOD team, the fire and ambulance services, Bournemouth Borough Council and other agencies for their assistance.

“I would like to reassure the public that this was an isolated incident which has now been resolved and there is nothing to suggest this was terrorism-related.

"This is a criminal investigation and our enquiries continue."