SEVERAL streets were evacuated following a bomb scare.

It came after a resident on Ashworth Road, Waterfoot, found a suspicious package.

Police were called to the junction of Burnley East Road and Ashworth Road at around 5pm on Saturday and they called for bomb disposal units to come and examine the package.

Residents were evacuated from Ashworth Road as well as Robert Street, Charles Street and Piercy Road while police investigated.

Some people made the short half-a-mile trip to Whitewell Bottom Community Centre, on Burnley East Road, which was opened by council officials as emergency shelter. 

Ward councillor Amanda Robertson, who visited the scene, said: "It was a bit of a shock at first.

"The police rang me up and asked if we could open the community centre because the school was closed and the local church was hosting a party.

"We had a couple of people visit the centre but a lot of others stayed at relatives' houses or went to the pub."

One Charles Street resident stayed at his son's house in Rawtenstall for three hours after he was told he was not allowed to go to his house shortly after 5pm.

The 75-year-old man said: "I haven't seen anything like this in my 47 years of living here. 

"Police told me I couldn't get to my house so I went to visit my son, who lives in Rawtenstall.

"I rang my brother in law who said police were at their door and they had to be evaucated."

At around 8.15pm the bomb team said they had disposed of the package and it was not a danger. People were allowed back into their homes shortly after.

Police have not said exactly what the package contained but said: "Police and other agencies have now concluded the incident.

"All residents may now return to their homes. Many thanks for the patience and understanding of those residents affected."

One bystander said: "I have lived here for 18 years and the bomb squad has never been called out to Waterfoot."