Shoppers cheer as police cordon around Fareham town centre lifts following suspicious package scare attended by Royal Navy bomb disposal team
SHOP staff and customers were evacuated from Fareham town centre for four hours as police investigated a suspicious package.
Hundreds of people were ordered to leave the site due to a bomb scare which saw specialist teams and a bomb disposal robot brought to the town centre.
Cheers filled the air as the 100 metre cordon closing off the shopping centre was taken down at 4pm, meaning shoppers were able to reenter the site.
Emergency services stood down from the scene as police tape was cut from the roads and streets leading onto the precinct.
Officers had been called at 12.16pm this afternoon to an area near Poundland after shop staff discovered a suspicious package.
Supporting emergency services was the Royal Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal team, who conducted a number of enquiries which established the item posed no threat and the item was made safe.
Among the many people forced to evacuate was James Mason, who runs the flower stall in the centre of the shopping precinct.
He had to leave all his flower stock behind when police told him to leave immediately during the evacuation.
James said: 'They just came up and told me I had to leave, so I locked up and went. I saw the bomb disposal squad go past at the end of the road.'
Tesco supermarket provided water to members of the public and emergency services in the area as they waited in the hot sun.
Boots delivery men Steve Tucker and Matt Hawkins were parked near Osborn Road car park as they waited for police to open the roads.
The pair were trying to deliver medicines to Boots when the cordon went up.
Steve said: 'I heard from my wife that there was a package reported in the precinct. I do understand, they've got to do the right thing.’
Several eyewitnesses said that the cordon tape was gradually moved further and further away from the place where the suspicious package was found.
One said: ‘I could hear sirens and the police were shouting at everyone to get out.
‘I didn’t mind but I wasn’t too happy about the heat and my hayfever.’