A man was arrested after a suspected explosive device was discovered at a flat in Southwater.
A 100-metre cordon was set up around the shopping area in Lintot Square on Friday after police found a suspicious device in property in Fairbank Road.
Shops and neighbouring flats were evacuated at 9am as the bomb squad were called to assess the device.
An employee at The Little Teahouse said they were told by police ‘to drop everything’ and leave the premises. All the animals at a vets were also evacuated from the building.
Police and experts from an explosive ordnance disposal team remained at the scene at 5pm and a rest centre was set up in a leisure centre for evacuated residents.
Officers said the device was removed by military personnel later that evening and was taken away for forensic examination.
A spokesman said: “We worked with the local authority and other local services to assist people who were evacuated and we thank everybody for their patience and understanding while the flat was searched. This was necessary to ensure that they remained safe.
“The circumstances are subject of continuing police enquiries and a criminal investigation is underway, but it is already clear that the device, the exact nature of which is not yet clear, was not intended as any threat to local people and there is no suggestion of any terrorist involvement.”
A 33-year-old man, from Horsham, was arrested on suspicion of making an explosive substance, and on suspicion of criminal damage. He has been released under investigation.
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