There is no evidence of shots being fired or any casualties on London’s busiest shopping street, police said, after responding to reports of gunfire.
There was a “significant level of panic” on Oxford Street and at Oxford Circus Tube station as witnesses said they heard shots.
But after armed police responded to the area which was packed with Black Friday shoppers and rush-hour commuters, they announced nothing had been found and the Tube station has re-opened. One woman suffered minor injuries in the crush as the station was evacuated.
In a statement British Transport Police said: “At 4.37pm this afternoon, officers were called to Oxford Circus station following reports of gunfire on the westbound Central Line platform.
“Passengers at the station then self-evacuated the station onto Oxford Circus and Regent Street area of London.
“This caused a significant level of panic which resulted in numerous calls from members of the public reporting gunfire.
“Officers responded in line with our procedures of a terrorist incident; this included armed officers from British Transport Police and the Metropolitan Police. A full and methodical search of the station and Oxford Street was conducted by officers.
“At this stage, we are examining the circumstances of the incident which resulted in the station being evacuated. During the station evacuation, one woman is believed to have sustained a minor injury.”
Pop singer Olly Murs was among those caught up in the incident in a department store on Oxford Street.
In a series of tweets from his @ollyoffical account, the former X Factor contestant wrote: “F*** everyone get out of @Selfridges now gun shots!! I’m inside
“Really not sure what’s happened! I’m in the back office… but people screaming and running towards exits! Evacuating store now!!! F*** heart is pounding”
Olly Murs wrote later: “Being told no shots in Selfridges! Have no idea the whole store went crazy!
“I’m safe and in hotel with loads of people! So many different stories flying around just hope everyone is safe.”
Scotland Yard said it had responded to “numerous 999 calls reporting shots fired in a number of locations” on Oxford Street and at Oxford Circus, adding: “Given the nature of the info received we responded as if the incident was terrorism, including the deployment of armed officers.”
Bond Street station which was also closed has re-opened, police have removed the barricades and people who took cover in a building have been told to leave.
Describing the panic, BBC producer Helen Bushby said: “I was just walking down from the BBC towards the tube and there was a mass stampede away from the tube as fast as they could.
“They were crying, they were screaming, they were dropping their shopping bags. It was a very panicked scene.
“People said they heard a gunshot and panic was just spreading.”
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were due to attend the Royal Variety Performance at the nearby London Palladium on Friday evening.