NEWS
03/05/2019 14:18 BST | Updated 03/05/2019 17:41 BST

Piccadilly Gardens In Manchester Cordoned Off, Man Arrested, After Suspect Bag Found

A large area of the city centre has been cleared by police.

The suspicious package found in Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester city centre is “not believed to be a viable device” but a cordon remains in place, police said. 

The area has been cordoned off by police for a second time after it was opened up when the suspicious package was removed.

BBC North West reports the cordon was put back up and some buildings in the area now being evacuated. A Bomb disposal robot has been seen at the scene.

A man, 26, remains in police custody for questioning over the incident.

Pictures shared on social media show police officers guarding the area in Piccadilly Gardens and an abandoned rucksack visible beside a tree. 

Greater Manchester Police earlier said they had received reports of a suspicious package in one of the city centre’s largest green spaces. 

They had also said the incident may be linked to an evacuation of Oldham Library after a suspicious device was also found there.

That package was also found to be “non-viable”.

A spokesman for the Greater Manchester Police said: “The cordon in Piccadilly Gardens remains in place while officers conduct further enquiries.

“Officers responding to reports of a suspicious package in the area deemed it to be a non-viable device.

“Further enquiries are being carried out and bomb disposal officers are on their way to the scene to assist with these enquiries.

“The cordon will remain in place as a precautionary measure and people in the area are encouraged to follow directions from officers.

“As part of the investigation, officers were also responding to reports of a suspicious package at Oldham Library.

“This was also deemed to be non-viable. Thank you for your patience as we respond to this.

An earlier statement said: “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.” 

The cordon covers part of Piccadilly outside McDonalds, Piccadilly Gardens, and the area around the tram station.

Transport links including the Metrolink have been affected as a result of the cordon.