Bomb scare sees London underground station put on lockdown

A photo posted to Twitter after buildings were evacuated.
A photo posted to Twitter after buildings were evacuated.TWITTER

LONDON - A bomb scare saw one of London's busiest underground stations put on lockdown on Tuesday, as police and sniffer dogs rushed to the scene and nearby buildings were evacuated.

A  "suspicious package" was found in a building near London Bridge underground station in the heart of the capital, raising fears of a possible terrorist incident, according to media reports.

Buildings in nearby Tooley Street were evacuated.

Sniffer dogs were seen being led into Counting House, which is the home of the charity Prostate Cancer UK, before police later declared the area safe, said Britain's Express news website. 

Earlier, office workers described the terrifying moment they were told to leave their buildings and head outside to an evacuation point near the iconic HMS Belfast on the River Thames.

Member of staff Gary Haines tweeted: "Update from London Bridge. Sniffer dogs in Counting House, home of @ProstateUK"

The police later tweeted that the event had been a false alarm, said the Express.

The Metropolitan Police's local Southwark account wrote: "Counting House at Hays Galleria safe to return to. We really appreciate your patience and compliance with officer directions at the scene."

Police helicopters were spotted circling overhead by witnesses who had been evacuated from work as specialist bomb squad officers moved in to investigate the package. 

Helen Monaghan tweeted: "The amount of helicopters flying over London Bridge right now is insane."

The underground station was temporarily shut but Network Rail and Transport for London (TfL) both confirmed that the railway station above remained open throughout the scare, said the Express.

Pictures emerged of large crowds milling around in the street as police cordoned off several streets around the station.

Bystanders said officers told them they were "not allowed to comment" on the nature of the threat. 

Witnesses said the evacuation took place close to Hays Galleria opposite London Bridge station, which would have been teeming with young families doing their Christmas shopping. 

A spokeswoman from the Metropolitan Police said: “Police in Southwark were called to Tuley Street at 12.26pm following information regarding a suspicious package.

“Specialist officers are on the scene, and a number of nearby evacuations have taken place as a matter of precaution.”