'There was a huge bang. I've never heard anything like it' - how counter terror raid unfolded at Sheffield apartment block

Armed police outside the block of flats in Kelham Island
Armed police outside the block of flats in Kelham Island
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A stunned resident told how he heard a 'huge bang' as counter terrorism police raided a flat in Sheffield this afternoon.

Nick Meeks said he was working at his apartment on Cornish Street, in Kelham Island, when armed officers stormed the block of flats at around 5pm.

A witness took this photo from the window of a nearby property

A witness took this photo from the window of a nearby property

"I was sat there working on my laptop and there was a huge bang. I've never heard anything like it," said the 27-year-old medical representative.

"Naturally I popped my head out of the door and there was smoke billowing down the corridor and police in full armed gear pointing guns down the corridor shouting at me to get back inside my flat. You do what you're told when there's a gun in your face."

Police said they had arrested two men on suspicion of terrorism, at locations in Sheffield and Huddersfield. They said today's operations were not linked to last week's Manchester bombing, which killed 22 people.

They also explained that the loud bangs reported by witnesses were down to the method used by police to gain entry to the property.

Mr Meeks said he was ordered to remain inside his second-floor flat at Daisy Spring Works for around half an hour before being allowed outside.

He told how the blast, which police said was down to the method used by officers to gain entry to the property, had caused extensive damage.

"There are cracks all the way down the corridor and huge cracks outside. It even blew a panel off the roof, whatever it was," he said.

"Within minutes of the bang loads of police had turned up and a cordon was set up. It was all very organised."

Residents of the block told shortly before 7pm how they were still not being allowed back inside, with police not telling them when they might be able to access their flats again.

David Kuhnel, a 24-year-old banker, said he lives across the courtyard from the flat which was raided.

He said he had heard a 'big explosion' and looked out of his window to see a plain clothes police officer standing in the courtyard with what he described as an assault rifle.

"I've lived in this block for about four months and I've never seen anyone in that flat. I've never seen the curtains opened or anything," he said.

"There are lots of armed police everyone but it's a bit worrying."

He compared the bang to the sound of someone dropping building materials from a height or to 'kids playing with firecrackers'.

Another man, who asked not to be named, said he had heard about the raid from a neighbour. He described the drama as a 'real shock'.

A fourth witness, who also wished to remain anonymous, said police had turned up in 'huge numbers'.

"It was a seriously sharp, professional and calculated operation by the looks of it and they obviously got what was needed to be done, sorted very quickly," he added.

"It was nervy but felt reassuring that they're dealing with things."

He added that he hadn't heard any of the loud bangs which have been reported.

Police said a man in his 20s had been arrested in Sheffield on suspicion of terrorism, and another man had been arrested in Huddersfield.

They said searches were being carried out at properties in both cities and the operation was not connected to last week's Manchester attack, in which 22 people were killed.

A police spokesman said: "Officers have today arrested two men from Huddersfield on suspicion of offences under Section 5 of the Terrorism Act.

"The men, age 24 and 29, were arrested at separate locations in Huddersfield and Sheffield

"Searches are being carried out in properties in Huddersfield and Sheffield.

"There are no connections to the recent incident and investigation in Manchester.

"The operation is based on recently received intelligence.

"We understand that people may have concerns as a result of this activity and we are grateful for the patience and understanding of the public while these enquiries are carried out.

"The public may have heard loud bangs at the time that police entered the property. We would like to reassurance you that this was part of the method of entry to gain access to the property."