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Kingston bomb threat: John Lewis shoppers evacuated from south west London store

April Roach
·3-min read
Shannon Lawton
Shannon Lawton

Shoppers were evacuated from a John Lewis in south west London this morning after a bomb threat.

The Metropolitan Police were at the scene after threats were made to the department store in Wood Street, Kingston, at 9.50am.

Roads, including Kingston Bridge, were sealed off while emergency services investigated.

Scotland Yard said stores and roads were reopened at 12.45pm following a search of the area.

Earlier, the force had said: "The store has been evacuated and London Ambulance Service are in attendance as a precaution.

"There have been no reported injuries. A number of closures, including Kingston Bridge, are in place while officers search the premises."

The force added that the incident was not believed to be terror related.

A John Lewis spokeswoman said: "Under the advice of the police, we can confirm that our Kingston John Lewis and Waitrose shops are now open and trading as normal."

Earlier the spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that our John Lewis and Waitrose shops in Kingston were evacuated this morning as instructed by the police.

Kingston Bridge and Wood Street has been closed (Gerry Mohabir)
Kingston Bridge and Wood Street has been closed (Gerry Mohabir)

"The safety of our customers and partners is our top priority and we are working closely with the emergency services as they handle the situation."

Gareth Roberts, leader of Richmond Council, had urged people to avoid the area.

"Seems there's an alert of a suspicious device in #Kingston Town Centre- as yet unconfirmed," he said on Twitter.

"But it's causing LOTS of disruption so if you can AVOID the area then PLEASE DO!"

BBC Radio London Travel had warned of long delays along London Road, Portsmouth Road and Wheatfield Way due to the road closures in Wood Street and Kingston Bridge.

"There are also long queues back along Hampton Court Road to beyond Hampton Court Palace. 11 different bus routes are diverted," it said on Twitter.

Shannon Lawton, who works in Jessops near the John Lewis, told the Standard she and her fellow colleagues were asked to leave the store at around 10.15am.

"The police started to close the road and then asked us to close the store and evacuate," she said.

Kingston Council said in a statement: "This morning the council was informed of reports of a bomb threat at the John Lewis department store in Kingston town centre.

"The store has been evacuated and cordoned off, and a number of road closures are in place, including Wood Street and Kingston Bridge. Please avoid the area until further notice.

"Our residents’ safety is our priority and we are working closely with the Metropolitan Police, London Ambulance Service and other authorities while investigations continue."