Police chiefs have launched an investigation after a man caused widespread panic at Manchester’s Arndale shopping centre following reports of a man with a gun.
At around 1.20pm on Saturday, police officers were called to the food court at Manchester Arndale in the city centre amid reports of a man with a gun.
Armed officers attended but found no evidence of anyone with a firearm.
Witnesses reported seeing a man stood on a table and shouting. He was not seen to be carrying a weapon, but it is believed his actions were intended to cause alarm and panic amongst members of the public.
The man then fled the scene and enquiries are ongoing to trace him.
He is described as black, in his mid to late teens, around 5ft 7, medium build and was wearing light-coloured tracksuit bottoms. He was not wearing a top, but is believed to have put on a t-shirt as he fled the scene.
Superintendent John-Paul Ruffle, of Greater Manchester Police’s Specialist Operations Branch, said: “We responded immediately to this incident, and thankfully it was quickly established there was no credible threat to the public.
“The man who caused the disturbance was not seen with any weapons, but nevertheless it caused fear and panic to quickly spread amongst people in the Arndale.
“Despite no evidence of a credible threat, we are taking this very seriously.
“A full investigation has been launched to establish the full circumstances of what happened and enquiries are ongoing to trace the person responsible.
“There will be increased patrols in the area, and anyone with questions or concerns is encouraged to speak to officers on the ground.”
Police were called to the food court at the Manchester shopping centre as panicked shoppers escaped the scene.
Widespread panic was caused and people took to social media to express their fears and claimed the centre had been evacuated.
Anyone with information or footage of the incident is urged to contact police on 0161 856 4275.
Alternatively, information can be passed on to the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.