A SUSPICIOUS package which triggered a full-scale bomb alert in Birkenhead was found to be an elaborate hoax.
Price Street was sealed off at 7.20am on Thursday after staff found the package outside Job Centre Plus.
Army explosive ordinance specialists were called in amid fears it could contain explosives and roads in the area were cordoned off.
Members of the public were warned to keep away while Army officers used a bomb disposal robot to examine the package.
The area was reopened to the public just after 11.15am after it was established the “device” was fake.
Merseyside Police called it an “elaborate hoax”.
Detective Inspector Anne Rannard said: “We treat this very seriously.
“Although this was not a viable device, someone had gone to great lengths to cause considerable disruption and upset.
“There is a full forensic investigation taking place and we are determined to find the people responsible.”
One man living nearby, who asked not to be named, said: “It was quite scary and dramatic. One minute it was all quiet then the police turned up.
“They were warning people to stay away but a few were still standing there trying to watch what was going on.”
Job Centre staff – who raised the alarm after finding the package outside their premises – were sent home from work after the alert.
Eyewitnesses said the hoax device looked like it was inside a biscuit tin.
A spokesman for Job Centre Plus said: “We identified the suspicious package and let the police know about it.”
Anyone with any information should call Merseyside Police on 0151-777 2265 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.