British police are investigating what caused panic among thousands of rush-hour commuters and Black Friday shoppers in the heart of central London.

Armed police raced to Oxford Circus Tube station and Oxford Street after receiving 999 calls reporting that shots had been fired.

But around 90 minutes after responding, police said there was no evidence of any shots, casualties or suspects.

Oxford Circus Tube and Bond Street stations have reopened, most cordons have been removed and the area has returned to normal.

British Transport Police received reports at 4.37pm of gunfire on the westbound Central Line platform. Shortly afterwards the Metropolitan Police also took similar calls.

In a statement the Met said: "Given the nature of the information received, the Met responded in line with our existing operation as if the incident was terrorism, including the deployment of armed officers.

"Officers working with colleagues from British Transport Police carried out an urgent search of the area. No casualties, evidence of any shots fired or any suspects were located by police."

Passengers fled the station on to Oxford Circus and Regent Street causing a minor injury to one woman.

BTP said there was "a significant level of panic", adding that it was "examining the circumstances of the incident which resulted in the station being evacuated".

Describing the panic, BBC producer Helen Bushby said: "I was just walking down from the BBC towards the Tube and there was a mass stampede away from the Tube as fast as they could.

"They were crying, they were screaming, they were dropping their shopping bags. It was a very panicked scene.

"People said they heard a gunshot and panic was just spreading."