Man detained in Belgium had 'cookies and salt' strapped to him

A bomb alert was triggered after a man was acting suspiciously near a central shopping centre

Man detained in Belgium had 'cookies and salt' strapped to him

Image: @will90LFC on Twitter

Updated 11.30

Belgian prosecutors say a man who sparked an alert at a Brussels shopping centre this morning was found to have only salt and cookies strapped to him.

The man called police early this morning saying he'd been kidnapped and given an explosive belt which could be set-off remotely.

He is believed to have a criminal record and a history of psychiatric problems.

Authorities sealed off the streets around the City2 shopping centre for a time and the bomb squad was called in. 

Some entrances to a nearby metro station were also blocked off.

The man was taken into custody as Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel held an emergency national security meeting to discuss the operation.

The Brussels prosecutor's office later confirmed that no explosives were located at the shopping centre.

"The suicide vest found on a suspect was fake," the Brussels prosecutor's office said.

Belgium has been living under a heightened terror threat level since the November terror attacks in Paris. Some of the perpetrators of the attacks were either Belgian nationals or had lived in Brussels.

Thirty-two people were also killed on March 22nd in attacks on the Brussels metro and airport.