Panicked shoppers have been filmed running in fear through Westfield Stratford after a police operation to arrest a “knife-wielding” man sparked chaotic scenes.
Videos posted to social media just before 5pm on Wednesday show people, many with children and pushchairs, all headed away from one end of the shopping centre after reports of a “very loud noise”.
Witness Alicia Porter said on Twitter: “There were was a very loud noise, lots of screaming and a crowd of people running a sprinting for exits.”
Other videos show people fleeing into shops.
The Met Police say a crowd gathered after the arrest of the man in question prompting reinforcements to be called in.
Another video posted on Twitter shows a line of officers marching through the shopping centre.
Later, a fire alarm meant the entire complex was evacuated. Westfield later confirmed the two events were unrelated.
Westfield Stratford, like most shopping centres, was especially busy today as shoppers sought to bag the best Boxing Day sale bargains.