LONDON - Police on Wednesday used a bomb disposal robot and carried out a controlled explosion on a package found in central London near the British parliament.

Although the package was later found not to be suspicious, emergency services were called to gardens next to the River Thames during the afternoon, a police spokesman said.

“We’ve just been told it’s all been stood down - non-suspicious,” he told AFP.

An AFP photographer at the scene saw a bomb disposal robot being deployed and a small explosion was heard.

A building where many MPs have their offices was also cordoned off along with Victoria Embankment which leads to parliament.

The area was targeted in a terror attack last year when Khalid Masood mowed down and killed five pedestrians before fatally stabbing a police officer outside parliament. Masood was then shot dead by a police bodyguard.

Salih Khater, a Sudanese-born British national, crashed his car into the security barriers outside parliament in August this year in another suspected attack. He is due to go on trial for attempted murder.