A FULL-SCALE bomb alert swung into action at Shoebury ranges after a suspicious package was found.

The scare followed reports of crude explosive devices left in Army recruitment offices in the south east.

Emergency services were alerted after the package was spotted at the ranges off Blackgate Road.

It was subsequently found not to contain explosives.

A spokesman for QinetiQ, which operates and manages the Shoebury site on behalf of the MoD, said: “We can confirm a package at MoD Shoebury raised suspicions.

“The site subsequently implemented the incident response plan, working closely with the emergency services to ensure its safe removal from site.

“Following a police investigation it has now been confirmed this was a false alarm.

“QinetiQ undertakes regular incident planning exercises and employee training to ensure safety and vigilance on site at all times.”

Four suspect packages were sent to recruitment offices in southern England bearing the “hallmarks of Northern Ireland-related terrorism”, the Government has said.

One of the packages is said to have had a Republic of Ireland postmark on it. Police officers said they found “basic, but viable” devices.

Shoebury Independent councillor Anne Chalk said she was angry councillors had not been alerted to the bomb scare on Thursday.

She said: “We knew nothing about it.

“In future they should alert local councillors because if people ask us what’s going on and we can’t tell them, it’s not very good.

“I would be worried if there was not enough security there and I am not sure how much there is.

“There was a gap in the fence not long ago and vandals were getting in and damaging an old house there.

“I’m not sure if that has beenmended yet so it’s a bit of a worry with all this going on.”