Rush hour chaos reported during ongoing police incident

Barnstaple’s Taw Bridge has been closed this afternoon (Thursday) because of a police incident.

Police said a man appeared to be on the wrong side of the bridge railings and officers were on scene negotiating with him.

An ambulance is also on scene and the coastguard have been called.

Police said the man is believed to be in his 30s and local.

Traffic is reported to be very heavy in the area and there are reports of traffic build up all around Barnstaple.

Update 5.50pm: People are reporting ‘absolute’ gridlock right around Barnstaple. The North Devon Link Road is clogged up and coming from Bideford traffic is queued from Roundswell as far as the eye can see.

It is also backed up to at least the Portmore roundabout heading in the Bideford direction.

Update 6.20pm: Police report the Taw Bridge is now open again following a ‘successful intervention’ with a man on the bridge.

North Devon Sector Inspector Roger Bartlett expressed his thanks to the patience shown by motorists caught in congestion.

He said: “While we recognise the frustration and inconvenience caused amongst those caught up in it, police were dealing with a very serious life threatening situation which I am really pleased to say, as a result of some excellent work by officers and good willed members of the public, was resolved without anyone coming to harm.

“We don’t take a decision to close major roads lightly especially during a rush hour period knowing the disruption it will cause, but there was no other alternative in this case.”