BREAKING NEWS: Security alert forces evacuation of Cabot Circus in Bristol
CUSTOMERS and staff have been evacuated from parts of Cabot Circus shopping centre following a security alert.
Shoppers were asked to leave the complex in Bristol city centre at just after 1.50pm today after a suspicious package was discovered.
Police were called in and the centre, which is run by the Bristol Alliance, was cordoned off.
Staff at Cabot Circus say the evacuation is ongoing. Kevin Duffy, Cabot Circus Centre Director, said: “There was a security alert at Cabot Circus this afternoon and as a result the Police have evacuated the main Cabot Circus shopping area as a safety precaution and are maintaining a cordon until the situation has been resolved.
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"A Police investigation is under way and we will confirm further facts once available in conjunction with the Police.
“Public safety is our priority at this time.”
UPDATE 1555: Two junctions at Old Market roundabout are cordoned off. Motorists and pedestrians are unable to go down Castle Street or Temple Way underpass in the direction of Cabot Circus. Two police cars are in attendance, and police officers are stood at both cordoned off junctions.
An officer can also be seen at the entrance to the underpass.
Two ambulance 4x4s were seen driving down Castle Street.
Around 30 people are stood around the roundabout.
UPDATE 1640: Police say the evacuation was sparked after a suspicious package was left outside a shop.
Police are asking motorists to avoid the Cabot Circus area.
The Avon and Somerset Constabulary website reads: "Purely as a precaution and working to well-rehearsed plans, a 100m cordon was put in place and the shopping centre and other buildings within the cordon area evacuated.
"The EOD (Explosives Ordinance Disposal) has been called as a precaution and are en-route.
"Some nearby roads have been closed which has resulted in traffic congestion in the area.
"Police are advising motorists and pedestrians to avoid the area."
UPDATE 1655: A loud explosion was heard in the direction of the Showcase Cinema De Lux at 16.50.
There continues to be a strong police presence in the area, with officers directing motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
Temple Way continues to be heavily congested, as motorists are directed away from Cabot Circus.
The Bristol City Council website reads: "Please avoid the city centre area altogether. It could be many hours before the situation is resolved.
"The following roads are completely closed:
The slip road from Temple Way to Old Market.
Old Market Street
Lower Castle Street
"All surrounding roads are severely affected for a radius of up to a mile. The M32 is also severely affected."
UPDATE 1710: The cordon has been lifted in the Cabot Circus area and roads are being re-opened after EOD (Explosives Ordnance Disposal) carried out a small controlled explosion.
Superintendent Andy Pullan said: "This was a false alarm with good intent.
"Concerns were raised at about 2pm. We worked with businesses in the area and our agency partners, following well-rehearsed plans to move people behind the cordon, advised by EOD. The safety of the public is always paramount in such situations.
"We would like to thank the public and those working in the area who have been affected by the incident, for their support, patience and understanding".