FAMILIES had to be evacuated from their Wrexham homes after reports that a man was threatening people with a knife.

Armed response officers were called to Bennions Road, Hightown, after being told the man was threatening people who were known to him.

North Wales Police say attempts were made to make contact with the man and after a short time he made his way out of the house, still armed with a knife.

The 26-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of a public order offence and arson after the incident, which erupted at about 6.20pm on Monday.

Four nearby homes were evacuated for more than two hours after a fire also broke out at the house. It was quickly brought under control by firefighters who had been placed on standby.

Chief Inspector Mark Owen said: “We are extremely grateful for the excellent support provided by colleagues from the fire service who responded rapidly to the fire thus preventing damage to other properties.”

The man was initially taken to the Maelor Hospital as a precaution, but was later released from hospital and is currently being held in custody while he is questioned by police.

The police helicopter was also scrambled and a police cordon was set up around the area while emergency services were at the scene.

One neighbour, who asked to remain anonymous, suffered smoke damage to his property.

He said: “The evacuation took place at around 7.30pm, we were taken down the road, and then allowed back about 10pm. There is a small amount of smoke damage in our house, but that is all.

“We knew there was some kind of problem going on and then the police came to evacuate us.”

Eyewitness Carol Woodfine, who lives in neighbouring Huntroyde Avenue, said: “I saw a lot of police officers, two fire engines and the police helicopter. There was a group of people down the road, I think they had been evacuated.”