‘Bomb’ that sparked evacuation of government building was a greetings card

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A suspected bomb, which sparked the evacuation of a government building in Norcross, turned out to be a battery-operated greetings card, police have said.

Hundreds of people were evacuated from the Veteran’s Agency Building in Norcross Lane following the discovery, made in the post room at around 1.20pm yesterday.

The greetings card sparked a major response from the emergency services

The greetings card sparked a major response from the emergency services

An ambulance service incident response unit, an Army bomb squad, firefighters, and numerous police vehicles were all called out.

After four hours, the scare came to an end as Lancashire Police declared the alert as a false alarm, describing the suspect package as a ‘genuine delivery’.

And this morning, a spokeswoman clarified: “The suspicious package turned out to be a greeting card with a battery operated device inside displaying a digital message.

“We are keen to emphasis that it was the right decision to raise the alarm, and we would always encourage people to do so in these types of situations.”

No picture of the card was available, she added.

The Veteran’s Agency building deals with war pensions. The Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team was spotted by one motorist heading down the M55 shortly after 3pm, and was among the last emergency service vehicles to leave the site after inspecting the ‘device’.

A small group of people were seen heading back into Tomlinson House, where the agency is based, at around 4.30pm.

“There is no threat to anyone at the site or in the wider community,” police said later.

“We would like to thank everyone for their support and co-operation.”

Last June, the bomb squad carried out a controlled explosion after Thornton man Mark Tuson reported an unexploded World War Two shell – which he had kept in his Holmes Road back garden for a decade – to police.

It was destroyed at Stanah Country Park, with Mark telling The Gazette he thought the device was safe for 10 years until researching it on the internet. “It was a surprise to me,” he said at the time.