THIS is the scene on Saturday evening in Royal Avenue Belfast – deserted.
Shoppers fled in terror as police evacuated the Castle Court shopping centre over a coded telephone bomb warning.
It is claimed the caller said a device had been left in the centre’s car park and gave police around 45 minutes to evacuate the premises.
Alarms went off and shoppers were ushered to the nearest exits as police tried to evacaute the building.
Police sealed off Royal Avenue and Army technical team is on stand by if anything suspicious is found.
It is the worst news for store owners who have complained that they have lost thousands of pounds in lost trade over the recent flag protests.
It is the second last shoppig Saturday before Christmas and probably the biggest day of the year for traders.
The alert has maddened store owners.
Glyn Roberts of the Retail Traders Association said: “An absolute disgrace that Castlecourt has been evacuated on the busiest shopping day of the year.”