Mass panic gripped one of the busiest shopping streets in London tonight after police were called to Oxford Circus station after reports of shots being fired. Oxford Street was evacuated on what is one of the busiest shopping days of the year, Black Friday after the reports came in of the incident at roughly 16:38 this evening. BBC Reporter Helen Bushby reported seeing people fleeing the scene crying and that there was a "mass stampede." Dozens of armed police vehicles attended the scene and quickly evacuated the surrounding area, telling patrons to remain inside the shops along Oxford Street.

At one point the department store Selfridges was evacuated "as a precaution." Many conflicting reports came in, ranging from a possible terror incident to a potential gang fight. It is believed that the reported "gunshots" came from a platform of Oxford Circus.

A mass panic after a bad year for London

The Police released a statement at roughly 17:30 saying that there had been no suspects located, no casualties reported apart from a woman who sustained minor injuries and there had been no evidence of gunfire. The Met Police confirmed that they had received numerous reports of shots being fired around the area of Oxford Circus and responded as if the incident was terror-related, but by 18:00 this evening, the station was reopened and the response was stood down, although The Met said that extra officers would remain on patrol in the capital this evening.

London and the UK have been on high alert this year after five terrorist attacks which have claimed the lives of dozens of people, 4 of those terror incidents have occurred in the capital. On the 22nd March 2017, Islamist extremist Khalid Masood killed 4 people after driving into them with his car on Westminster Bridge, and after crashing the car he proceeded to stab a police officer to death in the parliament grounds before Masood was shot dead by police.

Exactly 2 months later on the 22nd May, Salman Abedi detonated a bomb inside the Manchester Arena after an Ariana Grande concert, killing himself along with 22 other people, many of the victims killed in the attack were children.

On the 3rd June, 3 Islamist extremists ran over pedestrians with a van on London Bridge, before exiting the vehicle and beginning to stab members of the public in nearby Borough Market.

The 3 attackers were eventually shot dead by armed response officers. 8 people died in the London Bridge attack. 16 days later on the 19th June, a man targeted worshippers leaving the Finsbury Park mosque in North London, killing one man and injuring 8 others. A man was detained by members of the public at the scene and is due to stand trial for the terror attack. Then on the 15th September, a man attempted to detonate a bomb on a Tube train in Parsons Green in West London, the bomb failed to properly detonate but 30 passengers were still injured in the attack.

After a year in the UK which has seen 5 major terrorist attacks and many other foiled attacks, it is understandable that people in a city like London remain on edge, it was feared in the early stages of this incident that unfolded tonight that the unthinkable could be happening again and we were again under attack, but thankfully, the incident in Oxford Circus this evening appears to have been a false alarm.