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80 people asked to leave homes as man barricades himself in Levin house

Police have set up a cordon on Bledisloe Street in Levin, forcing local residents to camp out at the local community centre and library.

WARWICK SMITH/Stuff

Police have set up a cordon on Bledisloe Street in Levin, forcing local residents to camp out at the local community centre and library.

About 80 people have been evacuated from their homes after a man barricaded himself inside a house in Levin, police say.

A standoff with armed police was unfolding on Bledisloe St, Levin, on Thursday evening.

Nearby residents have been asked to leave their homes as a precaution, police said. The Armed Offenders Squad was at the scene.

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A Horowhenua District Council spokesperson confirmed residents were staying at Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō Community Centre & Library.

Cordons were in place near the house, while more than a dozen police officers could be seen in the area.

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More than a dozen police could be seen on the street in Levin on Thursday night.

WARWICK SMITH/Stuff

More than a dozen police could be seen on the street in Levin on Thursday night.

Horowhenua district mayor Bernie Wanden said about 80 people were at a welfare centre the council had set up.

Wanden said the council had provided comfort, food and, on the advice of police, accommodation either with family and friends or at motels.

“We are waiting for some communication from the police in terms of what is the current situation,” he said.

Wanden said he did not know exactly how many people were evacuated, but he estimated about 80 were at the welfare centre just before 9pm.

“I think we’ve looked after them extremely well, you know in a situation that is slightly out of the norm, both staff and community have been able to get together and support one-another.”

Most people were very understanding, but there was some anxiety, he said.

The reason for the evacuation “is something we haven’t shared with them”, Wanden said, as it was a police incident.

“Communications about the incident itself will come from police.”

Asked when people would be able to return to their homes, he said it was a question for the police.

Freyberg St resident Rob Anderson said he was evacuated from his home by police five minutes after arriving home from work, and was told by an officer evacuees could go to the local library.

Anderson went out for a meal, and was able to return home by 9.30pm.

At that point, Bledisloe St was still blocked off, as well as eastern Liverpool St and Cobham St, he said.

Fire and Emergency crews were assisting at the scene, but referred questions to police.

Police earlier said it was a self-harm incident.

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