A MAN has been charged with impersonating a police officer, making an explosive device and making threats to kill, after a suspicious package found at a police station sparked a town centre evacuation.

The 25-year-old, from Darlington, is due to face six charges, which also include possessing cannabis, at Harrogate Magistrates’ Court tomorrow (Thursday, September 4).

Part of Northallerton High Street was closed for more than two hours and several buildings were evacuated, after a package was found at the mid-18th Century grade II listed property shortly before 9am on Tuesday.

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Police did not reveal in what part of the station the suspicious package was found.

The station, which includes a custody suite serving the northern North Yorkshire area, had been open for less than an hour before the incident.

Police closed the north end of the High Street, which runs past the police station from the Town Hall roundabout to All Saints' Church, to vehicles and pedestrians.

Shop owners were advised to stay indoors, but staff were allowed through as an Army bomb disposal squad was called in from Catterick Garrison.

After an examination of the package by the Royal Logistics Corps team, it was declared safe.

After the station and the road were reopened, police thanked residents and business owners for their patience and understanding.

The incident followed a plan to close the police station and custody suite and create a new North Yorkshire Police northern base in South Kilvington, near Thirsk, being scrapped in July, after police and crime commissioner Julia Mulligan said it had become unnecessary.

The decision followed protests from South Kilvington residents who said they feared prisoners who would be released from the base.