Streets were shut off and buildings locked down while police investigated a ‘suspicious vehicle’ in south London.
East Croydon station was evacuated and a bomb disposal robot was sent to a car parked on the pavement, opposite the Boxpark street food market.
Workers in some nearby offices say they were warned to remain inside and ‘stay away from the windows’.
DJ and dubstep pioneer Skream, real name Oliver Jones, said there was ‘absolute carnage’ in the area.
People on social media say the East Croydon are is ‘locked off’ and have warned people to avoid it if possible.
Croydon North MP Steve Reed tweeted: ‘Arrived in Dingwall Road for the Develop Croydon event this morning to find the road closed off by police, no word about why, no one allowed in.’
The Metropolitan Police say they were called to the scene at 8.45am this morning and sent specialist officers to the scene.
Some eyewitnesses reported hearing a ‘loud bang’ which they thought could have been a ‘controlled explosion’.
But shortly after 11am the Met said they no longer deem the vehicle was suspicious but that they do believe it was stolen.
The force added: ‘The road will remain closed for a short time while the vehicle is recovered. Local people and motorists are thanked for their patience.’
Tram services were halted between East Croydon and Reeves Corner and bus routes were being diverted.
National Rail said there would be no trains stopping at the station until ‘approximately’ 11am.