POLICE have lifted a 200-metre exclusion zone from a Hampshire city centre put in place after Winchester Crown Court was evacuated because of a bomb scare.

Specialist officers were deployed to the scene and Hampshire Constabulary urged members of the public to stay away from the area.

The Royal Navy bomb disposal team was also on site to investigate.

It is not known whether there was a real threat or if the incident was a hoax. No device was found.

Roads and streets around the court are now open again.

A police spokesman said a telephone call was received earlier today in relation to a bomb threat.

The courts in Swindon, Wiltshire, were also evacuated today after receiving a bomb threat.

It is not known if the two incidents are linked.

Chief Inspector James Fulton said: "We received a specific bomb threat against both Winchester Crown Court and having assessed the detail of the communication and target, it was deemed necessary to complete a full evacuation.

“The evacuation and cordons ensured public safety.”

"Winchester's full emergency plan was implemented, bringing together agencies from across the city.”

Ch Insp Fulton added: "I would like to thank the community and businesses for their patience and cooperation while we responded to this security threat.

"Given the extremely rare nature of such a specific threat the policing response, though clearly impactive to the community, was proportionate to the potential threat posed.”

He said the police were still trying to establish the source of the bomb threat call.