Regents Street evacuation
Regent Street was evacuated as police investigated a black car parked in the middle of the roadTwitter

A central London street was evacuated on Tuesday afternoon (22 December) following reports of a 'suspicious vehicle' abandoned in the middle of the road. Thousands of Christmas shoppers were cleared from Regent Street, as officers examined a black cab parked outside the toy store Hamleys.

Witnesses said customers were told to stay inside shops and away from windows as specialists examined the car, which was parked at a taxi rank. The area between Beak Street and Oxford Circus was cordoned off and an officer smashed the vehicle's back window to inspect the car.

However it was a false alarm as it emerged that the driver had parked his vehicle outside the store while shopping with his family, oblivious to the chaos he had caused.

Dave Dale-Beasleigh, 54, a senior electrician who worked on the Regent Street Christmas light display, told Mail Online: "The officer was quite interested in the two cabs, they were sitting there for quite a while. Next thing I know there is more police. About three cars and about four vans that I could see that were in sight."

He added that when the driver of the vehicle finally emerged from the shop he was reprimanded.

"A minute later around the corner comes the cabbie with his wife and his young child with a load of shopping. He was pulled to the side and he was told off. I assume he just told someone it was his cab and they let him through. It was another police officer who was speaking to him, Dale-Beasleigh added.

The cordon remained in place for just under an hour, and was removed shortly before 2pm when the Metropolitan Police confirmed the area was secure.

London remains in a state of high alert following fears of a terror attack, after it emerged that Islamic State militants had been planning to carry out an atrocity in Britain on the scale of the Paris attacks that left 130 people dead.