A shopping centre in Preston was evacuated earlier today after a suspicious device was found in the toilets by a member of the public.

The package was found in a bin at the Fishergate Shopping Centre at about 09.10am. 

Chief Superintendent James Lee, Lancashire police’s south division commander for Preston, described the package as a ”small incendiary device, which could have caused damage or injury to someone had it fully gone off”, according to reports.

He said the shopping centre remained closed owing to concerns there may be more devices. An army disposal unit has also been involved in the investigation, reports said. 

An Army bomb disposal unit has gone to the centre to aid investigations.

The discovery of the suspicious device comes after David Atkins, chief executive of Hammerson, told Sky News that footfall slipped 10% following the terror attacks in Paris. 

He said: “Undoubtedly, particularly in London, we did see an effect – footfall was initially down about 10%. But that’s rebounded and I’m pleased to say that people are very resilient, coming out with their families.”