A man who claimed to be armed with a gun at a Saanich recreation centre sparked a police standoff for hours overnight Wednesday.

Police were called to Pearkes Recreation Centre at around 9 p.m. for a report of an armed man who became "extremely agitated" in the lobby.

"Members were able to quickly contain the building and ensure the safety of those that remained inside," Saanich police said in a news release. "Negotiations commenced with the male who was extremely emotional and insisted that he was in possession of a firearm."

As police negotiated with the man for hours, officers could be seen with weapons drawn outside of the facility.

They contained the building and hurried people away from the scene.

After several hours the man eventually surrendered without incident and he was taken into custody by members of the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team.

Police found no firearm on the man, and he admitted that he was never carrying one. He was taken to hospital for further assessment.