ABOUT 125 residents were evacuated to a sports centre today after a suspicious package was found in a bin lorry.

Police set up a 100-metre cordon and evacuated properties around Pickthall Terrace, Todmorden, following reports of a possible bomb.

But following an investigation by a bomb disposal team it was found the package did not pose any danger to the public.

Police closed Halifax Road between Shaw Wood Road and Cross Stone Road. It was reopened around 3.30pm.

Police had advised motorists to avoid the area and to expect possible delays.

Officers received a call at 8am to say a suspicious package had been found in rubbish in the lorry. The bomb disposal team was then called in.

Residents in the cordon waited at the sports centre in Ewood Lane until officers announced it was safe to go home.

Inspector Allan Raw said: “We had a duty to ensure that public safety was maintained and that the threat was properly investigated.

"We had to make an assessment of this situation and believed ithad to be treated as a genuine threat.

“Having taken the expert advice from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal we were fully satisfied that there was no threat to residents and we allowed them back to their houses.

“I would like to thank residents for their patience and understanding, and to the refuse collectors who reported this we would like to pass on our thanks to them for their vigilance.”

Todmorden councillor Olwen Jennings, who was stuck in traffic, said: “Todmorden is a small town, you don’t expect this sort of thing to happen but then no town is safe if it was a bomb.

"It is a shock. If it turns out not to be something major at least they took it seriously, even though people were inconvenienced.”