A MAN has been arrested on suspicion of damaging property with intent to endanger life after a gas pipe was damaged at a Bournemouth block of flats.

Homes were evacuated and an area cordoned off following the incident in Gillam Road which started just before 5pm yesterday.

A spokesman for Dorset Police said the force received a report of a concern for welfare for a man at an address in Gillam Road and they were also told a gas pipe had been damaged.

Bournemouth Echo:

Gas could be smelt in the area and the occupant of the property was unaccounted for.

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue were also called to the scene and people were evacuated as a precaution.

Crews attended from Redhill and Ferndown along with the incident support unit from Poole.

Dorset Police then liaised with the gas service provider to to make the property safe.

Bournemouth Echo:

Picture by Frank Robertson 

A 44-year-old local man was arrested at 8.24pm and is now helping officers with their enquiries. All residents have now been able to return home.

The police spokesman added: "We would like to thank everyone affected by the situation for their patience and understanding while emergency services worked to resolve the situation safely."

Emergency services were called to the same block of flats in 2017 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 the at 12.50am on August 17 2017 after a Bournemouth council environmental health officer called the emergency services.

It had 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.