A suspected World War II bomb found in the River Thames near the Houses of Parliament has been towed away for safe disposal.

The operation by the Royal Navy and Metropolitan Police to recover the unexploded bomb led to disruption in central London last night.

The Waterloo and Westminster bridges were forced to shut for several hours, Westminster underground station closed and river traffic halted after the device was dredged up near the Victoria Embankment.

The riverfront remained closed until around 3am this morning as the device was removed.

Large crowds of tourists and passers-by had gathered at the police tape with some calmly taking photographs of the odd sight.

A Port of London Authority spokesman told the BBC that the suspicious object measured around "2 ft by 1 ft" (60cm x 30cm).

Scotland Yard said specialist officers had assessed the device and alerted the Royal Navy after they were called to the River Thames at 5.15pm yesterday.

"The Royal Navy have now successfully removed the ordnance and will dispose of it," a police spokesman said.