POLICE are trying to track down a man who sparked a five-hour siege on the Woodchurch estate.
The five-hour stand-off last Wednesday ended with officers forcing their way into a house in The Meadows – only to find it empty.
Officers are still trying to trace the man they believed was inside.
Armed police were called to the scene around 4.20pm following a domestic disturbance.
Neighbours reported a woman had fled her home with her two children, aged one and four, claiming they were threatened with a knife.
Police set up a cordon around the area and an ambulance and armed response units stood by.
A row of shops near the scene was also closed.
A police negotiator was brought in to try and make contact with a man inside.
At about 9pm, around 10 police officers and dogs forced their way into the house and searched it.
It later emerged the house was unoccupied.
A police spokesman said: “Officers were in attendance at an address in Woodchurch to reports of domestic disturbance.
“A man was inside the property and a cordon put in place while the incident was ongoing.
“When officers did enter, they found the house empty.
“The cordon was lifted at 9.20pm and enquiries are now ongoing to trace the man.
“No-one was injured during the incident.”
As local residents gathered to watch the drama unfold, rumours spread about what had happened.
One neighbour said: “There was a woman with a baby sitting in a police car around the corner. She had run out of the house saying he had threatened to stab them.”
Other onlookers said they had heard the man had barricaded himself in the kitchen, doused himself in petrol and left the gas cooker on.
When officers left the building and the cordon was lifted and it was initially believed the man had been arrested.
It is believed he left the house before the cordon was put in place.