A woman describing herself as an artist sparked a major security alert Wednesday in London after suspicious packages were discovered near roads, shopping malls and subway lines, and she was arrested, police said.

Police sealed off major arteries into the city and partially shut down four subway lines during rush hour.

The five packages — apparently left at the sites intentionally as works of art — turned out to be the work of a woman claiming to be an artist, police said.

They were left in an area that had been affected by July's terror attacks on the city's transport network.

One of the packages was discovered on a street near the Shepherd's Bush subway station, one of the London Underground sites that was the scene of an attempted bombing July 21.

Two weeks earlier, terrorist attacks on the city's extensive transport system claimed the lives of 56 people, including four suspected suicide bombers.

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Both the British Broadcasting Corp. and ITN reported that some of the packages had nails sticking out of them.

As officers were investigating the packages, a 36-year-old woman, describing herself as an artist, went to a police station and was arrested on suspicion of causing a public nuisance and taken into custody.

The alert began at the height of rush hour.