A gun scare at the Arndale Centre was a deliberate attempt to cause mass panic, police have said.
Earlier this afternoon members of the public were forced to flee after officers received reports that a gunman had entered the Manchester shopping centre.
Yet, when emergency services searched the premises around 1.20pm, they found no evidence that such incident had occurred.
The shopping centre has since reopened, with police reassuring those in the area that there is no cause for concern.
A statement released by GMP said it was thought the incident came after a disturbance involving a group of youths.
Superintendent John-Paul Ruffle, who is responsible for specialist operations within GMP, said an investigation has now been launched to find the offender responsible.
He tweeted: A rapid response to the Arndale by our armed officers. Highly professional & brave – they ensured everyone was safe.
Whilst there was no weapon seen it is believed this was a deliberate attempt to cause mass panic. An investigation is underway to identify the person/s responsible.
A spokesperson for the Arndale Centre confirmed that the incident is now closed and the centre is open and trading as normal.
They added: The safety of our shoppers and staff is always our first priority.
An eyewitness told the MEN that he thought the incident related to the behaviour of a teenage boy, who stood on a table in the food court and began to take his clothes off.
The boy, believed to be 15 or 16, allegedly started shushing everyone, telling them to be quiet and saying they should listen to him.
He then said can I have everyones attention please, the eyewitness said and began to undress until he was wearing just his trousers and shoes.
Arndale staff intervened and began talking to him, but shortly after the boy ran off, the eyewitness said.
Screaming and shouting could then be heard as the incident appearedRead More – Source