BBC Lockdown: "Controlled explosions" outside broadcaster's headquarters as police investigate "suspect packages"
Pictures shared on social media show a bomb disposal robot on the scene, with witnesses described hearing "two loud bangs"
Police have carried out "controlled explosions" outside the BBC's Broadcasting House on Monday afternoon, after bomb squad officers were called in following a bomb threat. A police bomb robot was photographed heading towards an orange van outside the BBC offices on Portland Place, while witnesses described hearing loud bangs.
The corporation's staff were told to stay clear of the windows as the operation took place in the Marylebone area of the capital. BBC staff members have also reported sniffer dogs being sent to the scene while multiple streets in the vicinity have been closed off. The BBC buildings are currently on lockdown with staff being stuck inside as well as outside of the building.
It has been reported that Bomb squad teams were scrambled over two "suspect packages." "Been told to stay in the office at the back of the building until further notice because of a suspicious van," a source told DailyMail.
Controlled explosions were confirmed by people at the scene. Ruth Clegg, the BBC's disability news producer, tweeted, "Police have just carried out two controlled explosions outside BBC W1. Suspect package."
"Hallam Street cordoned off. Staff told to keep away from windows."
Other companies around the area were also told to keep their staff away.
Police have just carried out two controlled explosions outside BBC W1. Suspect package. Hallam Street cordoned off. Staff told to keep away from windows. pic.twitter.com/8lTW9F2TtI— Ruth Clegg (@Cleggins82) September 3, 2018
In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said: "Police were called at approximately 15:15 hrs to a report of a suspect vehicle at a premises on Portland Place, W1.
"Specialist officers are in attendance while the vehicle is assessed. Cordons are in place."
Stand up comedian Chris Ramsey, was one among those locked out of the building, while staff set up makeshift offices on nearby steps. He tweeted Radio 1 presenter Nick Grimshaw, "This one time... I came all the way down from Newcastle to do a radio show and the police had cordoned off the area so I couldn’t even get in the building."
This is not the first instance wherein a vehicle outside the BBC offices has been deemed a threat. In June, a blue Rover attracted a huge police response and a controlled explosion was carried out. Police in London remains on high alert for terror attacks after a number of high profile attacks.
This is a developing story, more to follow.