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Birmingham reopens after security scare

British authorities reopened parts of Birmingham on Sunday after clearing as many as 30,000 people out of the downtown on the previous evening because of a reported threat.

British authorities reopened parts of Birmingham on Sunday after clearing as many as 30,000 people out of the downtown on the previous evening because of a reported threat.

Police officers continued to search into the morning in some areas of the entertainment district and Chinese quarter of Birmingham, which lies 175 kilometres northwest of London.

By early morning, however, they lifted the security alert that shut down the centre of England's second-largest city for 10 hours. Workers and residents were allowed back into most areas.

Police had carried out a handful of controlled explosions, including on a bus that was reported to carry a suspicious package. They determined that it wasn't an explosive device.

A second suspicious item that was abandoned at a hotel was also found to be harmless.

"I don't believe that the incident that we're dealing with this evening is connected with the incidents on the seventh of July in London," Assistant Chief Constable Stuart Hyde of West Midlands Police said late Saturday night.

After receiving an intelligence report of a possible threat at about 8:15 p.m. local time on Saturday, police emptied hundreds of bars and clubs in the city's core and blocked off roads into the downtown.

Between 20,000 and 30,000 people were estimated to have been in the area.

Police sound alarm at London bomb sites

The evacuation in Birmingham was the largest of a number of security scares on Saturday, including several major alerts near the bomb sites in London.

Outside the King's Cross station, people had set flowers against a wall as a makeshift memorial to the more than 20 people who died in a nearby tunnel.

Police moved people back from a makeshift memorial of flowers against a wall after being warned that a suspicious package had been spotted.

In another incident, a train station in Ashford in southern England was shut down temporarily, delaying service between London and Paris.