Part of Liverpool city centre was brought to a standstill yesterday (May 28) due to a 'suspicious package' – which turned out to be an annoying beeping security tag that had been wrapped in tape to muffle it.

Merseyside Police confirmed that the suspicious object reported by staff at John Lewis' Liverpool ONE store was neither a viable device nor a malicious hoax.

The store was sealed off at 10am after the suspicious package was found and the bomb squad was brought in.

The store remained closed yesterday afternoon, hours later, while investigations continued, but has now reopened.

A suspicious object was found in John Lewis Store in Liverpool One and the area was closed off by police

According to police the incident was reported by an employee at the store at 10am, and officers cordoned off an area around the store.

All shoppers and employees left the department store premises as a precaution, the police said, and sniffer dogs were seen searching areas around the shop.

A statement released by the police said: "However the object has been found to be an electronic security tag which had been malfunctioning and emitting a loud and audible ticking sound.

Recap: Suspicious object found in Liverpool ONE store

"It is believed that a staff member had wrapped and taped the tag up to muffle the noise but had not notified colleagues working in the store of what it was or why it was there.

"When the item was discovered its appearance and sound caused concerns and a staff member alerted emergency services and self-evacuated the store."

While most of the Liverpool One remained open to shoppers, many found they had to take lengthy detours, particularly those going to and from the bus station.

Police at the scene yesterday

The Royal Logistics Corps arrived at the store entrance near Hanover Street and the Liverpool One bus station just before 12.30pm, and later a remotely controlled robot went into the shop.

This was followed by one of the bomb squad wearing heavy protective clothing. Later there was a loud shot and a small pop or bang could be heard.

However, police later said: "The item reported to the police as ‘suspicious’ has been examined by experts and has been confirmed as not having posed a threat."

The safety cordon started to go down around 2pm, although an area around the entrance to John Lewis near the bus station remained cordoned off until just after 2pm, while the bomb squad cleared away.

While most of the Liverpool One remained open to shoppers, many found they had to take lengthy detours, particularly those going to and from the bus station.

Bomb squad arrive on the scene at John Lewis in Liverpool ONE

The police spokesman added: "Merseyside Police would like to thank shoppers, shop staff and Liverpool One security for their co-operation during this morning’s incident at John Lewis Liverpool.

"The safety of the public is always our priority and we would like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding while the emergency services responded to this security alert."

A statement from John Lewis said: "The safety of our customers and Partners is our first priority, and on finding a suspicious item in the branch our team informed the police, and as a precautionary measure evacuated the shop.

"In this instance, a broken electronic security device which had been wrapped up was mistaken for a suspicious item, and the team followed our robust security measures by calling the police.

"After the police confirmed that it was safe to do so, the shop reopened and is trading as normal. We are grateful to the police for their quick response to this incident, and apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused."