Essex

Lakeside shopping centre evacuated after smoke canister set off

Smoke canister inside Lakeside
Image caption The smoke filled about half of the Lakeside shopping centre in Thurrock

One of Europe's largest shopping centres was evacuated after a smoke canister was set off in a shop.

Half of the Lakeside shopping complex in Thurrock was filled with smoke when fire crews arrived at about 21:00 BST on Tuesday.

Centre staff moved all shoppers and workers out of the building. Eyewitnesses told of their shock at finding themselves surrounded by smoke.

A high-pressure fan was used to clear the site of smoke. Nobody was injured.

A fire service spokesman said the smoke emanated from a store security device which is designed to "create confusion" in the event of a shop theft.

"I've been here for seven years and this is the first time I've come across this sort of device," he said.

Essex Police said it had attended but believed no criminal act had been committed,

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