A major police operation was launched in Birkenhead after a suspect package was found.
The device was discovered by the landlord of a recently-vacated property that he had gone to check on at around 5.30pm.
The landlord reported his suspicions to the police and local officers closed the roads and evacuated homes within a 100m safety cordon on Park Road East and Paterson Street.
But experts found the package to be an imitation or hoax, and residents were allowed back into their homes.
People in the area reported seeing a large number of police vehicles near Park Road East, where a cordon was put up.
One woman in the area told a local newspaper: “At about 8.50pm, we heard loads of sirens and then all these police cars started arriving.”
Images from the scene showed at least five police cars on the road, and the Royal Army Logistics Corps bomb disposal joined them in the area together with a bomb disposal robot.
People were still being told to leave their houses as late as 10pm and a local authority evacuation plan had been put into effect to find people places to sleep.
One woman said she was determined to sleep in her car with her pet pugs.
A Merseyside Police spokesman told us this evening: “Specialists from the Royal Logistical Corps unit, in Chester, are currently examining the device to see if it is an imitation or not and will be in charge of safely removing it once the examination is complete.
“Merseyside Police is working with the local authority to ensure that all affected residents are provided with temporary accommodation while the situation remains ongoing.”
Park Road East was closed to pedestrians and traffic and motorists were advised to follow diversions and use alternative routes through Birkenhead.
A later police statement said: “The RLC have examined the device and established that it is an imitation/hoax. People will be allowed to return to their homes shortly.”