| 20.09,19. 01:00 AM |
Byron Council evacuated as Sydney bomb squad sent in to deal with 'suspicious device'
Photo: Police created an exclusion zone at Byron Shire Council. (ABC News: Bruce Mackenzie)
Police say a pipe bomb found in Mullumbimby in New South Wales's far north coast has been rendered safe and has been taken away for forensic examination.
Bomb disposal experts from Sydney were called to the region to defuse the eight-centimetre-long pipe bomb found early this morning.
Police set up an exclusion zone near the Byron Shire Council Chambers following the discovery of a suspicious object they said looked "like an improvised explosive device".
Detective Chief Inspector Luke Arthurs police believed the bomb was real and investigations were underway.
"We will get the device forensically examined and we will continue viewing CCTV footage in town here and we will try to identify the offender," he said.
Local police, firefighters and a specialist bomb disposal unit from Sydney were called to the scene after the object was found near the Commonwealth Bank and Byron Shire Council just after 7:00am.
Local shop owner Mark Thomas found the suspicious object near his store and had a look at it before contacting authorities.
"It's like a metal pipe, capped either end and circuit-board-looking stuff and a switch," he said.
"It's Mullumbimby. No-one wants to blow up Mullumbimby, I don't think.
"I couldn't see it properly so I rolled it over, 'oh yeah, looks like someone has made a bomb for Halloween but, you know, could be real so better call the police', and so here we are."
Inspector Arthurs warned the public to be aware of what a bomb could look like.
"This happens everywhere in Australia, these things happen and that's the way of the world at the moment.
"What we've got to do is best practice and seize it in accordance of our policies and procedures and make sure no one was injured."