There were frantic scenes last night as the Cineworld and the David Lloyd gym, amongst other facilities in the Brighton Marina, were evacuated after an alleged bomb scare.
After a suspicious package drove individuals to report a perceived threat, one eye witness described the scene which saw gym users “running out in towels and their swimsuits”.
Michelle Hills wrote on Twitter: “Suspicious package at Brighton Marina. Cinema evacuated. We’re OK, not so the poor devils in towels coming out of David Lloyds.”
Onlooker Steve Pavey wrote “Evacuated from Cineworld Brighton due to suspicious package”, whilst another twitter user commented that “everyone just got evacuated from the gym and people were running out in towels and their swimsuits.”
Police officials have confirmed that an evacuation did indeed take place, giving credence to the witness accounts that described a short-lived state of panic triggered by a suspicious package being spotted by security officers, wash over a part of the Marina.
The incident was stood down after the package was examined and found to be nothing more than an empty suitcase.
This incident may ring alarm bells for Brighton residents for various reasons. Those concerned by threats of domestic terror will no doubt be claiming that you can’t be too careful, that any incident of suspicion should be met with a serious response that acts to minimise risk and neutralise the situation. Whereas there are many who see this kind of response as playing into the hands of would-be terrorists by perpetuating a state of paranoia within a population being urged to adopt a mindset centred around a narrative of societal and ideological threats that seek to disrupt a way of life that radical and fundamentalist doctrines teach to be abhorrent and dangerous.