A ‘stolen’ car with a Romanian number plate sparked this morning’s evacuation of East Croydon station and saw police deploy a bomb robot to carry out a controlled explosion.
Witnesses said there had been a ‘loud bang’ and shared images of people packed into the streets of South London this morning.
One warned people to avoid the area and said the bridge next to the station was also out of use as the operation unfolds.
A robot was pictured at the scene approaching a silver car in an image shared on Twitter.
But Croydon officers tweeted later: ‘Police in #Croydon dealt with a suspicious vehicle at Dingwall Road this morning. The vehicle was not suspicious, although is believed stolen. The road will remain closed for a short time while the vehicle is recovered. Local people and motorists are thanked for their patience.’
One witness had told My London during the incident: ‘We think something has been detonated, we just heard a loud bang.’
Another said: ‘Sounds like a controlled explosion just happened – very loud bang heard.’
Workers in nearby offices said that they were been told to stay inside their buildings and ‘away from the windows’.
The Met Police confirmed that officers were at the scene dealing with a ‘suspect vehicle’.
A spokeswoman said: ‘Police were called at 08:46hrs on Thursday, 6 February to reports of a suspicious vehicle on Dingwall Road, Croydon. Officers, including specialist officers, are on scene and cordons are in place.’
Witnesses are taking to social media to share pictures from the scene, with one writing: ‘Sh** going down in Croydon!!!! Robot has arrived!!!!’
Another said: ‘#eastcroydon still closed due to suspicious abandoned vehicle nearby. Can’t walk over the bridge either. Best to avoid the area.’
Footage from the scene shows the police robot probing a vehicle in an empty street as offices stand guard at either end.
Other clips show commuters and workers forming huge crowds in the street as the incident unfolds.