(The man being taken into custody/Photo submitted by Tessa Green)

Heavily armed police surrounded Pearkes Arena in Saanich on Wednesday night after they received reports there was an extremely agitated man inside the building claiming to be armed with a firearm.

What followed was a two-hour standoff, before the situation was de-escalated by a negotiator who spoke to the suspect through a pay phone inside in the lobby of Pearkes Recreation Centre.

In a release, police said they were able to “quickly contain the building and ensure the safety of those that remained inside.”

During the negotiations, police say the man was extremely emotional and insisted he was in possession of a gun. At one point, he told negotiators that he had been running on four days of drugs and no sleep.

The man finally surrendered to the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team (GVERT) around 10:30 p.m. without incident, allowing staff and other people trapped inside to come out.

The circumstances leading up to the impasse are unclear, however reports suggest that several patrons were originally rushed out when the events were unfolding, while others were still stuck inside.

No one was injured. The suspect was taken to hospital under the Mental Health Act.

No firearm was located by arresting officers and police say the man later admitted he never had one in his possession.