PART of Taunton was brought to a standstill in 1989 after a major bomb alert was issued.

Taunton Police had received information that an explosive device had been planted at County Hall, headquarters of Somerset County Council.

Taunton MP, David Nicholson, said: “We know that the IRA is threatening a bomb and assassination campaign on the mainland, and we know that an actual bomb exploded - mercifully without human injury - at Bristol University recently after being planted by people claiming to be animal rights activists.

“Therefore, the authorities must always take serious threats of anything like this.

“That makes it all the more atrocious that people should make hoax calls of this nature, and I hope the police will pursue the perpetrators with the utmost vigour.”

County Hall was evacuated as police and sniffer dogs made a thorough search of the buildings.

All the offices in The Crescent were also evacuated, and the road was sealed off to pedestrians and traffic.

Nothing untoward was found, and the drama ended mid-afternoon when County Hall was declared safe.