Update: Bomb scares across Finchley Road as THREE hoax threats are called in to supermarkets
PUBLISHED: 14:35 08 June 2011 | UPDATED: 15:54 08 June 2011
Three bomb scares rocked Finchley Road this morning with hoax threats being called in to the O2 Centre and Waitrose near to Finchley Road station and Marks and Spencers in Temple Fortune.
At around 9.30am all employees and customers at the 02 centre were evacuated after a call was received about a suspect car in the car park.
Around an hour later Marks and Spencer on Finchley Road Temple Fortune was evacuated. According to staff a suspicious silver car in the car park had sparked the scare.
Before midday, customers at Waitrose near the O2 centre were moved to the back of the store by staff while police investigated the premises following a separate bomb threat to the store. Around 50 to 100 people waited in store during the ten minute search by police and sniffer dogs.
At the O2 Centre police cordoned off the entrance and all roads leading to the car park at the back of the centre. Search dogs arrived at 10.20am to look for explosives and returned 50 minutes later having thoroughly searched all the cars in the car park and found nothing.
Suzy, 23, a gym member in the centre said: “I’m 20 minutes into a run on the treadmill and then the gym workers run in with their arms waving saying there has been a bomb scare and we need to evacuate the building immediately. It suddenly turned hectic.”
Meanwhile Radmila Loncar was locked inside a Waitrose due to the bomb scare on Finchley Road and wrote on twitter: “Food being handed out, at lest we won’t starve.”
Another shopper, Kate, reported that police had told them the bomb threat had been made on Waitrose.
She tweeted: “Bomb scare in or near Waitrose Finchley rd. Seriously. We’re held at the back of the shop. Police on site.” She was held for fifteen minutes, along with other shoppers, at the back of the shop until police dogs had given the area the all clear.
Patricia Whitehouse, 78, from Netherhall Gardens was also shopping in Waitrose at the time .She said: “I was taken to the wine section. I was a bit worried about it because if anything did happened I was surrounded by glass. The staff handled it very well.”
In 1993 there were three explosions on Finchley Road – including one in Dominos Pizza across the road - and another bomb which failed to detonate.
A member of staff at Waitrose, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “A call came to us at this branch [Finchley Road] and said there was a device in the store. We contacted the police who arrived promptly.”
A police spokeswoman said “We received a phone call at 9.20am with reports of a suspect car in the car park of the Sainsbury’s at the O2 centre on Finchley Road. The shops around the car park closed, including Waterstones and Sainsbury’s and people were evacuated. Police are on the scene investigating and the safer Neighbourhoods team are also on scene.”
All the threats were found to be hoaxes and all the stores are now open.