Shopping centre bosses in Blackpool today reassured customers about their safety following the discovery of a suspect device in a busy Preston shopping centre.
Visitors to the resort’s Houndshill Centre are also being urged to be extra vigilant in the wake of the incident.
It follows the discovery of an IED (improvised explosive device) at the Fishergate Shopping Centre in Preston on Thursday.
The centre was evacuated after the device, which police say was planted deliberately to endanger life, was found in a bin in the men’s toilets.
A spokeperson for the Houndshill said: “Following an incident at Fishergate shopping centre Preston, Houndshill centre management confirm that the safety of our shoppers is of the utmost importance.
“We ask if customers can assist in keeping Houndshill secure by reporting any suspicious activity or packages to the centre team.
“We would like to reassure our customers that we are continually updating our policies and procedures to ensure we keep our customers shopping in a safe and secure environment.
“Houndshill Shopping Centre is open for trade as usual.”
Lancashire Police were called to the Fishergate Centre at around 9.10am after the device was found.
Police have since released footage of the suspect seen in the neighbouring St George’s Centre at 8.30am.
Fylde shoppers were among hundreds of people caught up in the alert.
Maggie Fisher, 62, from Lytham, said: “It’s pretty crazy. I’ve only come out to do my Christmas shopping and to get some bits and bobs and I’ve ended up in the middle of a bomb scare. It’s really weird someone would do this. I wouldn’t expect it from someone round here.”
David Evans, 58, from Poulton, said: “I’m a bit worried about this. It’s a shame for everyone doing their Christmas shopping because a lot of people are scared, which is understandable. Police have done the right thing because this could be the start of something serious.”
Fran Sykes, 23, from Fleetwood, said: “I don’t think people are too worried. I was in there when they evacuated everyone and we were told it was a fire. Even when people heard it was an explosive they just went about their business.”