London Luton Airport is to reopen after a bomb squad carried out a controlled explosion at its departure terminal.

Thousands of passengers were evacuated at 1.36pm after airport security raised concerns about an item that was passed through a security check

Amid "chaotic" scenes, the approach road to the airport was also closed, while flights were diverted 50 miles away to Stansted Airport and a bomb disposal unit arrived and deployed a robot to investigate the package.

Bedfordshire Police has since confirmed the package, which is not a home-made bomb, was "suspicious" but was destroyed at 5.15pm, with the airport to reopen soon but with long delays.

The force has also confirmed no one has been arrested in relation to the incident.

Flights were ready to board with passengers who had cleared security were able to depart, while staff handed bottles of water to travellers who were stranded outside the airport.

The airport has urged passengers to contact their airlines, adding some flights were being diverted to other airports in the London area as well as ones in the Midlands.

London Luton statement

"We understand passengers will be frustrated by the delays they are experiencing.

"We are working closely with the police to ensure passengers are not inconvenienced unnecessarily but we must ensure that the safety and security of all our passengers and staff remains our top priority.

"All flights have been suspended and the roads between Junction 10A of the M1, and leading up to the Airport have been closed. The A1081 and London Road towards Luton town centre remain open to traffic travelling from the M1.

"We are advising passengers to contact their airlines for information about specific flights which are being diverted to airports in the London area and the Midlands."