The Waitrose store in Banstead was forced to close on Friday afternoon (February 21) due to an emergency services incident.

Roads surrounding the supermarket on 102-134 Banstead High Street were closed by the authorities on Friday afternoon.

Surrey Police told the Comet that a suspicious package had forced the evacuation and closure of the store and that specialist officers were currently searching for the device: 

"We received a report of a suspicious package at Waitrose in Banstead shortly before 11:30am today (Friday 21 February).

"The store was evacuated and a cordon has been put in place as a safety precaution. Road closures on the High Street and nearby roads have also temporarily been put in place.

"Search-trained officers are attending the scene, however no suspicious packages have been found at the current time.

"We would like to thank everyone involved for their patience whilst we deal with this incident."

A spokesperson for Waitrose said: 

"The shop has been temporarily evacuated on the advice of the emergency services and we are continuing to support them."

Reigate Police, who were in attendance, thanked residents and staff for their patience as they confirmed road closures in the area.

They said a suspicious package was behind the evacuation but added they had not located one as of 2.14pm: 

Meanwhile, Transport for London (TfL) confirmed road closures and announced bus route alterations in the area.

"DIVERSION- Bus route 166 is on diversion due to an emergency services incident at High Street Banstead.

"Buses are directed in both directions via Winkworth Road and Bolters Lane.

"Route S1 is starting and terminating at Croydon Lane Roundabout due to the incident," a spokesperson for the transport authority said.

Surrey Police, South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) and Surrey Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) were all contacted for comment.

There were unconfirmed reports published by local media that a suspicious package had forced the closure of the store.