Police say there are currently no further details about the nature of the device, which appears to have gone off causing no real damage and no injuries.
Lancashire Police were called at around 9.10am today to a report that a device had been found within a bin at Preston's Fishergate Shopping Centre. The shopping centre management decided to evacuate the centre as a precaution.
Police are in attendance at the centre and are asking the public to stay away from the area.
A police spokesman said: “The safety of the public is our top priority and so the Fishergate Centre has been evacuated as a precaution and is currently closed. The rest of Preston town centre remains open for business.
“Our colleagues from the EOD have been called to assist us with our inquiries and to help in the disposal of the device.”
Roads surrounding the Fishergate Centre are still closed to vehicular traffic but pedestrians can walk along Fishergate and past the centre.
And Peter Billington, Secretary of the Lancashire Association of Trades Union Councils (LATUC), said plans for a trade union protest outside county hall at 1.30pm were due to go ahead as planned.
He reported: "There 's still lots of police blocking off all roads round the Fishergate Centre, but pedestrians can get past."
The LATUC had urged union members opposed to the current Trade Union Bill going through parliament to gather at the Pitt St entrance to county hall at 1.30pm as Lancashire County Council was due to start its December full council meeting. The intention was to highlight the low turnout at electoral polls which resulted in the election of Tory County Councillors and Lancashire MPs.
Preston Bus Ltd tweeted to say: "Fishergate and Corporation Street now reopened in Preston, Butler Street still closed. Buses back to normal routes, delays still possible for a while."