Severe disruption at East Midlands Airport after 'suspicious device' sparks evacuation

ITV News Central Reporter Rajiv Popat outside East Midlands Airport as flights continue to be halted following the earlier evacuation

Operations at East Midlands Airport has been severely disrupted after a suspicious device was found in an item of hand luggage, sparking an evacuation.

Hundreds of people at the airport were removed from buildings and a police cordon was in place while the device was being examined.

Eight flights that should have taken off haven't departed yet due to the evacuation, impacting 3,000 passengers. Three flights due to land at the airport were diverted elsewhere.

Leicestershire Police has confirmed that the device, reported just after 3pm today, was a suspicious package located in the main terminal building."In the interest of officer and public safety the terminal has been evacuated," a police spokesperson said.

East Midlands Airport this afternoon Credit: Murray Norton

They added: "Explosive Ordnance Disposal were called to assist officers and determined the item did not pose any risk of harm to the public.

"No criminal offences were identified, no-one has been arrested and the call was made in line with appropriate protocol."

What has East Midlands Airport said?

In a statement, East Midlands Airport said: "Following reports of a suspicious package, East Midlands Airport’s terminal was evacuated this afternoon as a precaution to enable police to carry our necessary enquiries.

"It has now re-opened and we are working with the airlines to get passengers away on their flights.

"We thank customers for their patience and understanding."

'Get Up and Move!' Passengers said they received little information when they were evacuated

Speaking to ITV News Central, Sarah Hartles, who is a passenger waiting for a flight at the airport, said passengers were given no information during the initial evacuation.

"All we were told was Get Up and Move!" she said, before adding: "They've placed us in a part of the airport they have said is safe."

She continued: "There's nothing on the boards and no one saying anything other than no one is going anywhere."

East Midlands Airport has been evacuated Credit: Darci Barnes

Ms Hartles, who is waiting for a flight Rhodes, said passengers had been given water bottles and that she had seen a security officer.

Another passenger, Darci Barnes said: "We were so scared honestly, they were giving us all water, they've been really good."

Her flight was scheduled for 4:30pm, but is now expected to take off at 7:30pm.

Others have taken to social media to voice their concerns at the evacuation, and were unsure as to what had caused the delay.

"No idea what is causing the disruption," said one person on Twitter.

Another confirmed that passengers are not receiving information.

One man told ITV News Central that departure boards haven't updated and claimed the airport tannoy are still telling people to go to gates.

Murray Norton said: "I've been told we are getting to the final stages of the delay.

"Overall, the message is airport staff have been good and so has the reaction from most passengers."

Now that the device has been confirmed to not be a threat to safety it's hoped that services could resume as normal over the next few hours.