Crawley shopping centre evacuated after ‘suspicious package’ found

County Mall, Crawley. Pic Steve Robards  SR1613942  20-05-16 SUS-160520-162933001
County Mall, Crawley. Pic Steve Robards SR1613942 20-05-16 SUS-160520-162933001

A Crawley shopping centre was evacuated as emergency services responded to an incident this afternoon.

Alarms went off inside County Mall after a suspicious package was found inside the building at about 1.20pm.

Shoppers and traders were immediately told to leave the premises as Sussex Police investigated the package which was discovered in the centre’s toilets.

One trader said: “They started coming out and telling people to leave. Strangely they pushed us back about 100 yards outside at the memorial gardens.”

Chloe Kerley, who was shopping at the mall at the time, said at the time: “They don’t tell us anything but security said it’s definitely not a fire and there are fire engines and police everywhere.”

Police said a cordon was set up around the building whilst the package was investigated. It has since been confirmed it was not suspicious and has been removed by officers.

Shoppers and staff were allowed back into the building just after 2.30pm and businesses have re-opened.

The fire service said it was alerted to an incident at County Mall after alarms went off inside the centre earlier this afternoon.

However, a spokesman said no crews attended as the incident was being dealt with by Sussex Police.