Lockdown in Nimes following alert at railway station

David Chazan
Nimes station - AFP

French police evacuated and sealed off the railway station in the  southern town of Nimes following reports of an armed man.

Passengers had reported their concerns to the police.

The “armed man” turned out to be carrying an  alarm gun or starting pistol.

One man was  arrested, the local newspaper Midi Libre reported. The  paper said he was believed to have been in possession of a fake weapon.  It said reports that shots had been fired were incorrect.

According to Midi Libre, the initial reports of shooting at  the station were made by Spanish media. 

The alert came amid a massive police presence in Nimes for the start of  the Tour of Spain cycling race, which is similar to the Tour de France and began in the southern French town. 

The Gard Prefecture responsible for Nimes police tweeted that the public  should avoid the railway station and the surrounding area.

It said the ongoing police operation was to ensure there was no danger  and "to lift any doubt".

Nimes police later  confirmed that there was no shooting at the station  and reports that officers were seeking a second suspect were later discounted.

Just over 90 minutes from the initial reports of the incident, police said the station was "returning to normal".