Reading shopping centre evacuated: BOMB SCARE prompts lockdown after suspicious item found
Emergency services rushed to the scene at around 9am this morning after a “bag with wires hanging out” was found in the building's toilets.
After discovering the item, shoppers and staff were evacuated from the centre and nearby buildings and a 100m police cordon set up.
Shoppers were left unable to drive their cars from surrounding car parks before the lockdown was lifted.
Thames Valley Police has yet to confirm what the item was, but all roads and car parks around the Oracle have since reopened.
Chief Inspector Emma Burroughs, deputy Local Police Area Commander for Reading, said the evacuation was “paramount to ensure the safety of the public throughout the day”.
She said: “I would like to thank the public today for their support today and patience, but would urge you to stay away from the area until further notice, just to minimise the disruption.
“We will continue to investigate this incident and will provide any updates at the earliest opportunity.”
An Army explosives unit was scrambled to the shopping centre scene as well as a bomb disposal robot.
The building remained closed for the entire day.
After the alarm was raised this morning, people in nearby buildings were told to stay indoors and traffic was diverted away from the area.
Road closures affected Bridge Street, Gun Street, Minster Street and Yield Hall Place, but officers reopened all four streets in the late afternoon.
A statement issued by Thames Valley Police said shortly after 5pm said: “Our officers remain in Reading town centre.
"We were called to a report at about 9am today following the discovery of a suspicious item at The Oracle shopping centre.
"A 100m cordon was set up in the area while officers and our partner agencies responded to the incident.
"They remain on the scene working to establish the nature of the item.
"The Oracle shopping centre was evacuated, along with other nearby buildings and areas, and road closures were put in place.
"The affected roads are Bridge Street, Gun Street, Minster Street and Yield Hall Place, all of which are in the process of being reopened.
"Car parks in the area are also reopening to allow people to collect their vehicles.
"The Oracle shopping centre currently remains closed while the incident is ongoing.
"If you wish to report any information in relation to this incident, please call Thames Valley Police on 101, or 999 in an emergency."