Day one of improvement work to Cromarty Harbour ground to a halt yesterday following the discovery of a suspected piece of ordnance.
On-site workers from Lochshell Engineering made a hasty call to police around noon after hitting a strange metal object in the water.
Officers arrived on scene a short time before establishing a cordon around the site.
Several local businesses and properties were also evacuated as a precaution as investigations got under way in an attempt to uncover its identity.
Tony Vandyke, chairman of Cromarty Harbour Trust said following closer inspection of the unknown object, the incident was deemed a false alarm.
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He said: “This is day one of the first of preservation works that we are doing on the harbour. We have been lucky to raise some good sums. We have had some issues along the roundel under the bridge.
“This is the first contract we have going on when they were to start digging behind to find out what the problem was and of course day one they have dug down what is just a square concrete plinth. They started digging down and hit metal.
“We called the police of course, did the right thing, the police have contacted the MOD and photos have been sent to the MOD and they say it’s not an issue. So it’s all called off. It’s a storm in a tea cup.
“Tomorrow we will do careful exploration works and if there are any issues we will call them back.”
HM coastguard was also alerted to the incident at 12.10pm before notifying the local Cromarty Coastguard team.
A spokeswoman from Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) said: “Cromarty Coastguard Rescue team attended Cromarty Harbour following reports of ordnance. Because of the location and its above high water, police were dealing with it. No action was needed so teams were stood down.”