Man threatens to blow up his home in pilgrimage resort

Police in Scherpenheuvel in Flemish Brabant have overpowered a man who had threatened to blow up his home. The local man had turned on the gas and threatened to create an explosion.

Earlier in the day the man threatened several passers-by in the street with a knife.

A pub below the man's flat was evacuated after the man threatened to blow up his home. Fire-fighters attended the scene and turned off gas supplies to the house. Still, the man refused to come out.

As a last resort a police special intervention team entered the flat and detained the man, who is thought to have been injured in the scuffle.

The motive for the man's bizarre actions remains unclear though locally it was heard that he was experiencing drug and alcohol related problems.

Pilgrims have been making their way to Scherpenheuvel since the Middle Ages when an oak tree on a hill took the form of a cross.  A local man hung a sculpture of the Virgin Mary in the oak and that encouraged the faithful to flock to Scherpenheuvel to pray.