Officers have launched an investigation after a package containing an unknown substance was found in an Aberdeen council building.
Its discovery led to the Aberdeen Town House – where many of the authority’s councillors and senior officials have their offices – being sealed-off.
Parts of Broad Street and Queen Street were also closed-off shortly before 4pm yesterday and the cordon was soon extended by police.
Staff were evacuated from the building and members of the public ushered away as the nature of the suspect package was probed by specialist fire officers.
Police did, however, say the package was not thought to be of any threat to the wider public.
Emergency services were stood down from the incident just after 6pm but said investigations would continue.
Chief Inspector David Howieson said: “A substance was recovered, which has ultimately been found not to be harmful and there is no threat to the public.
“Inquiries will now be carried out into the full circumstances.
“I would like to thank the public for their patience as emergency services responded to this incident.”
A security officer for the Aberdeen Christmas Village, who asked not to be named, said he first noticed a crowd forming outside the Town House at around 3.30pm.
He added: “There were no alarms or anything, but I found it really strange and a minute later the police arrived.
“There were a number of people standing around outside and an officer started putting up the tape.
“They told us they couldn’t say what was going on, but I had a lot of people coming into the village asking me what was happening.
“I thought if it was something serious they would have asked us to evacuate too.”
Police said they were supported by fire and rescue crews.
A spokesman for the fire service said they mobilised a detection, identification and monitoring vehicle and one appliance from North Anderson Drive.
The cordon was put up as a precaution while the emergency services conducted a thorough assessment.
Officers could be seen directing pedestrians off Broad Street towards Netherkirkgate and escorting others to get access to their cars on Queen Street.
The council asked the public to keep clear of the site while the investigation was ongoing.
A spokesman said: “We can confirm a suspicious package within Aberdeen City Council offices at the Town House was reported to Police Scotland.
“The health, safety and wellbeing of the public, staff, elected members and all those who use our buildings is our priority and as such the site was evacuated as a precaution, in line with established council security protocol.
He later added: “The Town House has been returned to Aberdeen City Council.”