A police cordon was set up and shops evacuated around a bus in central Oxford. An image of the Broad Street scene showed the route at a stop with police officers surrounding the vehicle.
Video footage earlier today (April 3) showed how the usually busy street was deserted. Police asked the public to avoid the area.
Thames Valley Police said in a statement published online: “We are aware of an incident in Oxford City Center near Broad Street.
“We currently have a cordon in place and are advising the public to avoid the area while the incident is being dealt with.”
The Oxford Mail reported the incident as a possible bomb threat with police looking for a suspicious package.
A Thames Valley Police spokeswoman said police could not confirm or deny that report.
Author Ali Mercer was at the Blackwell bookstore and asked not to leave the building with staff and customers.
She tweeted at 10.40am: “I’m in @blackwelloxford and the police have asked us not to leave the building… There’s a cordon on Broad Street and we’re in. It’s obviously one of the best possible places in the world to be imprisoned…”
An hour later, she said the store had been cleared, before later tweeting: “[W]ell – feeling nervous. Flashbacks to the Brixton bomb in 1999.”
In an update posted online just before noon, Thames Valley Police (TVP) said officers had placed a cordon in central Oxford following reports of a device placed in Broad Street.
Police said: “We responded quickly and thoroughly searched the area, including our specialist canine unit.
“We can now confirm that no device was found and that the deposits have now been lifted.”
TVP added that public safety was paramount as officers investigated the report.
The statement ended with: “We would like to thank the public for their patience and cooperation as we handled the incident.”