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Police investigate cause of panic among thousands in central London

By Andrew Turton | UK News | Published: | Last Updated:

Armed police responded to the area but said nothing had been found and the Tube station has re-opened.

There were reports of people running out of the Tube station (PA)

Police are investigating what caused panic among thousands of rush-hour commuters and Black Friday shoppers in the heart of central London.

Armed police raced to Oxford Circus Tube station and Oxford Street after receiving 999 calls reporting that shots had been fired.

But around 90 minutes after responding, police said there was no evidence of any shots, casualties or suspects.

Oxford Circus Tube and Bond Street stations have reopened, most cordons have been removed and the area has returned to normal.

This includes the Royal Variety Performance at the nearby London Palladium going ahead as planned, although the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge has been delayed.

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People in 'lockdown' in the London Palladium theatre (Yui Mok/PA)
People in ‘lockdown’ in the London Palladium theatre (Yui Mok/PA)

British Transport Police received reports at 4.37pm of gunfire on the westbound Central Line platform. Shortly afterwards the Metropolitan Police also took similar calls.

Oxford Street in London
(PA graphic)

The Met said: “Given the nature of the information received, the Met responded in line with our existing operation as if the incident was terrorism, including the deployment of armed officers.

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“Officers working with colleagues from British Transport Police carried out an urgent search of the area. No casualties, evidence of any shots fired or any suspects were located by police.”

Passengers fled the station on to Oxford Circus and Regent Street causing a minor injury to one woman.

BTP said there was “a significant level of panic”, adding that it was “examining the circumstances of the incident which resulted in the station being evacuated”.

Describing the panic, BBC producer Helen Bushby said: “I was just walking down from the BBC towards the Tube and there was a mass stampede away from the Tube as fast as they could.

“They were crying, they were screaming, they were dropping their shopping bags. It was a very panicked scene.

The scene in Oxford Street as police responded (Georgina Stubbs/PA)
The scene in Oxford Street as police responded (Georgina Stubbs/PA)

“People said they heard a gunshot and panic was just spreading.”

Andrew Turton

By Andrew Turton
Digital Journalist

Digital journalist based at the Express & Star's head office in Wolverhampton. Interested in breaking news and social media. Get in touch on Twitter @aturton_star or andrew.turton@expressandstar.co.uk

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