DETECTIVES have made an arrest after a couple in their 80s were allegedly held hostage by a man armed with an axe.

Armed police were called to Prairie Crescent in Burnley at 2am today to reports a man and a woman were being held hostage.

A police spokesman said after negotiations the man, believed to have been armed with an axe, left the house.

A 39-year-old man, from Burnley, was arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm and making threats to kill.

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Eyewitnesses said there were at least 11 police officers, including some wearing riot gear, armed officers as well as negotiators, at the house for several hours.

One Prairie Crescent resident said: “My wife and I were woken up at around 2am and saw all the police outside.

“There was a stand-off for five hours before the man came out.

“Ive never seen anything like it before.

“There’s been trouble down here before but never to this extent.

“We were really worried about what was going on at first when we saw all the police.”

Another Prairie Crescent resident said: “I watched the whole event from my window.

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 “There were four negotiators trying to talk to the man, asking if the people inside were okay.

“The man was shouting out of his window and swearing at the police.

“Officers brought out a battering ram and I thought they were going to burst through the door.

“Some police went round the back and all the lights came on.”

Another resident said they saw paramedics checking on the man and woman inside the house.

Police said the GBH arrest relates to a separate incident which took place in October 2018.

It is not thought the man and woman were injured in the incident, but they were checked over by paramedics as a precaution.

Det Insp Nicola Bithell said: “We were called at around 2am today to reports a man was holding two people hostage at an address on Prairie Crescent, Burnley.

“Armed officers attended and, following negotiations, the man left the address.

“It is not thought the man and woman being held at the address suffered any injuries, though they were assessed by the ambulance service as a precaution.

“Our enquiries are ongoing, however at this time we believe the parties are known to each other and there is no wider threat to the public.”

Two police cars remained at the house yesterday morning but left at around midday.

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101.