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Manchester city centre is on lockdown over bomb fears

Manchester city centre is on lockdown over bomb fears

Double bomb scare as police lockdown Manchester city centre and Oldham library eight miles away after reports of suspicious packages Police say man, 26, was detained and cordon put in place following incident Officers stand guard at Piccadilly Gardens which would normally be bustling Metrolink stops are suspended and ‘very heavy police presence’ is reported

Double bomb scare as police lockdown Manchester city centre and Oldham library eight miles away after reports of suspicious packages

  • Police say man, 26, was detained and cordon put in place following incident
  • Officers stand guard at Piccadilly Gardens which would normally be bustling
  • Metrolink stops are suspended and ‘very heavy police presence’ is reported
  • Witnesses say they are ‘currently not allowed to leave the building at work’
  • A bomb disposal unit has been stood down at Oldham library, it is reported 

Manchester was hit by a double bomb scare today after a library and city centre square were evacuated following reports of two suspicious packages.

A 26-year-old man was arrested as police investigated a backpack in Piccadilly Gardens, while another package was found eight miles away at Oldham library.

Bomb disposal officers from the Royal Logistical Corps helped probe the device in the city centre, while they also investigated the package in the library’s men’s toilets.

Officers established a large cordon around Piccadilly Gardens as local office buildings and shops were evacuated and the central tram service was suspended.

The emergency services presence at both locations is now reportedly being scaled back as officers attempt to figure out if the two packages were linked. 

Greater Manchester Police said the 26-year-old man was held by officers after the discovery

Greater Manchester Police said the 26-year-old man was held by officers after the discovery

Emergency services and forensics teams descended on Piccadilly Gardens which has been cordoned off

Emergency services and forensics teams descended on Piccadilly Gardens which has been cordoned off

It has not yet been determined whether the two sets of evacuations in Greater Manchester were linked

It has not yet been determined whether the two sets of evacuations in Greater Manchester were linked 

Greater Manchester Police later revealed that the Piccadilly Gardens package was ‘not believed to be a viable device’, but the arrested man was held in custody. 

A force spokesman added: ‘A cordon will remain in place until the materials are made safe to move and enquiries have concluded.’

A bomb disposal robot was sent into Oldham library this afternoon, but the unit has now reportedly been stood down. 

All Metrolink stops were suspended between Piccadilly and Victoria and reporters near the gardens described a ‘very heavy police presence’. 

Witnesses said it was ‘the quietest Piccadilly Gardens I’ve ever seen’ while others tweeted that they were ‘currently not allowed to leave the building at work’. 

Laurence Hebberd said on Twitter: ‘I’ve never seen anything like it – the whole of Piccadilly Gardens has been closed and cordoned off due to a suspicious package.’ 

A bomb disposal robot was sent into Oldham library this afternoon after reports of an unknown package in the toilets

A bomb disposal robot was sent into Oldham library this afternoon after reports of an unknown package in the toilets

Fire crews were also in attendance, but Greater Manchester Police later revealed that the Piccadilly Gardens package was 'not believed to be a viable device'

Fire crews were also in attendance, but Greater Manchester Police later revealed that the Piccadilly Gardens package was ‘not believed to be a viable device’

Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester goes into in lockdown today after the package was found

Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester goes into in lockdown today after the package was found

The Royal Logistical Corps also arrived to probe a suspicious package at Oldham library today

The Royal Logistical Corps also arrived to probe a suspicious package at Oldham library today

Photographs from the scene showed officers stood guard around the area at lunchtime today

Photographs from the scene showed officers stood guard around the area at lunchtime today

People stand by the police cordon put in place in Manchester city centre this afternoon

People stand by the police cordon put in place in Manchester city centre this afternoon

Police stand at the scene after a 26-year-old man was detained in connection with the incident

Police stand at the scene after a 26-year-old man was detained in connection with the incident

And Chloe Glover said: ‘My office is literally 30 seconds walk from Piccadilly Gardens and I am feeling spooooooked [sic]. Hope whatever’s going on gets sorted out soon.’

A spokesman for Oldham Council said: ‘A suspicious package has been found in the gentleman’s toilets. The entire building has been evacuated as a precaution.’ 

Earlier, a force spokesman said: ‘A cordon remains in place in Piccadilly Gardens after reports of a suspicious package were made. 

‘A man aged 26 has now been formally arrested and is in custody. Assessors, along with the fire service, will be attending to establish if the item is viable.

Laurence Hebberd said on Twitter: 'I've never seen anything like it - the whole of Piccadilly Gardens has been closed and cordoned off due to a suspicious package (pictured: police moving people away from the scene)

Laurence Hebberd said on Twitter: ‘I’ve never seen anything like it – the whole of Piccadilly Gardens has been closed and cordoned off due to a suspicious package (pictured: police moving people away from the scene)

All Metrolink stops were suspended between Manchester Piccadilly and Victoria today

All Metrolink stops were suspended between Manchester Piccadilly and Victoria today

The gardens in Manchester would normally be a bustling scene on a Friday lunchtime

The gardens in Manchester would normally be a bustling scene on a Friday lunchtime

Witnesses said it was 'the quietest Piccadilly Gardens I've ever seen' during the incident today

Witnesses said it was ‘the quietest Piccadilly Gardens I’ve ever seen’ during the incident today

‘Transport links including the Metrolink have been affected as a result of the cordon. As part of enquiries, Oldham Library has also been evacuated after reports of a suspicious device found there.

‘Officers are keeping an open mind and are exploring the possibility the incidents are linked. Thank you for your patience as we respond to this.’

Detectives did not say what the man had been arrested for, but the force also tweeted: ‘Please follow directions from officers at Piccadilly Gardens. 

‘If you are working in the city and have been asked to stay indoors, please do so while officers carry out their enquiries.’

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