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Police probe cause of Oxford Circus Tube Station incident which sparked panic

No suspects, evidence of shots fired or causalities Metropolitan Police

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Handout photo courtesy of Rob Butcher of emergency services at Oxford Circus in Oxford Street, central London.

Handout photo courtesy of Rob Butcher of emergency services at Oxford Circus in Oxford Street, central London.

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People in 'lockdown' in London Palladium after Oxford Circus station in London was evacuated because of an "incident". Pic: Yui Mok/PA Wire

People in 'lockdown' in London Palladium after Oxford Circus station in London was evacuated because of an "incident". Pic: Yui Mok/PA Wire

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The scene in Oxford Street in London after police responded to a number of reports of shots being fired on Oxford Street and underground at Oxford Circus tube station and are responding as if the incident is terrorist related. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday November 24, 2017. See PA story POLICE Tube. Photo credit should read: Georgina Stubbs/PA Wire

The scene in Oxford Street in London after police responded to a number of reports of shots being fired on Oxford Street and underground at Oxford Circus tube station and are responding as if the incident is terrorist related. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday November 24, 2017. See PA story POLICE Tube. Photo credit should read: Georgina Stubbs/PA Wire

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LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24:  Armed Police officers are seen near Oxford Circus underground station on November 24, 2017 in London, England. Police are responding to reports of an incident at London's Oxford Circus Tube station and have urged the public to avoid the area.  (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24: Armed Police officers are seen near Oxford Circus underground station on November 24, 2017 in London, England. Police are responding to reports of an incident at London's Oxford Circus Tube station and have urged the public to avoid the area. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Getty Images

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24:  Armed Police officers are seen near Oxford Circus underground station on November 24, 2017 in London, England. Police are responding to reports of an incident at London's Oxford Circus Tube station and have urged the public to avoid the area.  (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24: Armed Police officers are seen near Oxford Circus underground station on November 24, 2017 in London, England. Police are responding to reports of an incident at London's Oxford Circus Tube station and have urged the public to avoid the area. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

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An armed policeman runs down Oxford Street in central London on November 24, 2017, as police responded to an incident. Pic Wires

An armed policeman runs down Oxford Street in central London on November 24, 2017, as police responded to an incident. Pic Wires

AFP/Getty Images

Police set up a cordon outside Oxford Circus underground station as they respond to an incident in central London on November 24, 2017. Pic Wires

Police set up a cordon outside Oxford Circus underground station as they respond to an incident in central London on November 24, 2017. Pic Wires

AFP/Getty Images

The scene outside the London Palladium after Oxford Circus station in London was evacuated because of an "incident". Pic: Yui Mok/PA Wire

The scene outside the London Palladium after Oxford Circus station in London was evacuated because of an "incident". Pic: Yui Mok/PA Wire

PA

Police set up a cordon outside Oxford Circus underground station as they respond to an incident in central London on November 24, 2017.
British police said they were responding to an "incident" at Oxford Circus in central London on Friday and have evacuated the Underground station, in an area thronged with people on a busy shopping day. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVASDANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

Police set up a cordon outside Oxford Circus underground station as they respond to an incident in central London on November 24, 2017. British police said they were responding to an "incident" at Oxford Circus in central London on Friday and have evacuated the Underground station, in an area thronged with people on a busy shopping day. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVASDANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

The scene outside the London Palladium after Oxford Circus station in London was evacuated because of an "incident". PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday November 24, 2017. See PA story POLICE Tube. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire

The scene outside the London Palladium after Oxford Circus station in London was evacuated because of an "incident". PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday November 24, 2017. See PA story POLICE Tube. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire

PA

Handout photo courtesy of Rob Butcher of emergency services at Oxford Circus in Oxford Street, central London.

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 the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge has been delayed. 

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.

In a statement 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.

"Officers working with colleagues from British Transport Police carried out an urgent search of the area. No causalities, 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.

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

 

Belfast Telegraph