West End hostage: Police arrest 39-year-old man after taking waitress, two diners hostage in Bella Italia, Leicester Square

Catherine Neilan
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It took nearly two hours to talk the man down (Source: Google)

Police have arrested a man after a two-hour hostage standoff at a West End restaurant last night.

Dozens of Met officers surrounded the Bella Italia on Irving Street, just off Leicester Square at around 8:50pm last night after a man took a waitress hostage.

The suspect is believed to have armed himself with a knife from the kitchen before locking himself inside with the woman and a couple who were eating at the restaurant at the time. Other diners and staff managed to escape.

Reports suggest the man was a restaurant employee.

Negotiators were seen talking to the man through a letterbox, and the standoff lasted almost two hours. He was eventually arrested just after 10:30pm. No one was injured in the incident.

A police spokesman told City A.M. that officers were called to the restaurant after receiving reports "of man holding a woman against her will.

"It was reported that the man intimated he was in possession of a knife. Two other people were also reported to be inside the venue.

"Officers, including firearms officers attended the scene and engaged with the man to resolve the situation.

"At around 22:35hrs a 39-year-old man was arrested by officers for false imprisonment and taken to a central London police station where he remains in custody."

"Detectives from Westminster CID are investigating. Enquiries are ongoing to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident."