Police in Germany have stepped up surveillance and counter terrorism security measures at Christmas markets throughout the country after the city of Potsdam was hit by a bomb scare.

Late on Friday (1 December), a Christmas market in the city was was evacuated because of a suspicious package.

Authorities said the package containing nails and an unidentified powder was destroyed in a controlled explosion.

A hunt is now underway for the sender of the package which did not appear to be a viable device, a spokesperson added.

The package was delivered to a pharmacy on the same street as the Christmas market in the centre of Potsdam, a city near the capital Berlin. Police have so far not clarified whether the store or the market was being targeted.

Germany remains on alert following a deadly truck attack at a Christmas market in downtown Berlin last December which killed 12 people. Such markets are extremely popular in Europe throughout the festive period.