ARMED police surrounded an Accrington flat this afternoon following an incident in which a woman was stabbed.

Police said it was believed a man in the property might have access to firearms.

Streets within half a mile of the address in St James Street, Accrington, were sealed off at around 1pm.

A woman believed to be the wife of the man inside the building was taken to Blackburn Royal Infirmary.

Her condition was not said to be serious.

A police spokesman added: "We understand that there is a man alone in the house who may or may not have access to firearms.

"The house is surrounded by a police fire arms team.

"The incident appears to have been sparked by some sort of altercation between him and a woman believed to be his wife."

Shop manager Mrs Susan Vaughan, who works at Toymaster, Church Street, Accrington, described the police swarming around outside her shop. She said: "There were around four police cars and two vans and probably about 20 policemen.

"Some were dressed in body armour.

"The first we knew about it was when the tape started going up outside our shop. Nobody has told us what it going on."

Mrs June Dudley, who works at Accrington Lighting Centre, also on Church Street, said people had come into the shop saying there was someone with a gun.

She said the area near the church had been cordoned off.

Police and town centre wardens kept people away from the area.

Paramedics were called to the scene by police.

The streets sealed off included Paradise Street, St James Street, Eagle Street and Cannon Street.

Children at the First Class child care centre on Cannon Street were kept inside the building by police.

Anxious parents and grandparents were prevented from entering the cordon.

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