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Debenhams reopens after quick evacuation in County Mall

County Mall shoppers were left confused after Debenhams was quickly evacuated.

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Debenhams, County Mall

Shoppers were left confused after they were swiftly evacuated from Debenhams in Crawley’s County Mall.

Customers were evacuated at around 11am this morning (19 July) after ‘a sprinkler’ set off the alarms.

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Shoppers waited patiently outside the closed storefront for Debenhams to reopen – which it did at around 11.25am.

Customers outside Debenhams in County Mall, after being quickly evacuated.

During the incident security were unable to say what the cause of the evacuation was. It has now come to light that a sprinkler that went off it the basement at Debenhams caused the alarms to go off. Staff had no choice but to follow procedure and evacuate the premises.

One Twitter user posted, seemingly confused about the brief closure:

County Mall were quick to respond:

After a short wait, customers were able to resume their shopping at about 11.25am.

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Police increase presence across Crawley after four women grabbed or harassed by men

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Police are stepping up patrols in areas of Crawley after reports of women being approached by men in the town.

Officers are investigating a number of reports from the past week, but do not believe that all of the incidents are linked.

The first report involved a woman jogging in Grattons Park around 10am on Thursday (May 21). She was heading along a pathway towards Peterhouse Parade when a man appeared from the bushes and made an attempt to grab her around the waist.

The victim managed to evade the suspect, described as white, around 50 years old, with grey hair and a flushed face.

Around 7pm on Monday (May 25), a second woman was jogging on Three Bridges Road, Crawley, when she was approached by a man who put both arms around her waist. The woman was able to break free and run to safety.

This suspect is described as black, around 5′ 8″ and wearing a winter coat and black rucksack.

Two further reports were made to police on Tuesday (May 27) of women being approached by a man in the Northgate area of the town.

The first happened on The Parade around 6pm and the other at Woodfield Road Playing Field around 6.30pm.

In both cases, the women reported being harassed by a man who was asking a lot of unusual questions and standing too close. No physical contact was made.

The man was described as Asian, in his 30s, around 6′ tall, of slim build and with a black beard. He was reported to be wearing a hat – possibly a sports cap – and casual clothing, including colourful, modern trainers.

Chief Inspector Shane Baker, district commander for Crawley, said:

“We understand these incidents are very worrying for those involved, and for those who live in the area.

“At this time, we are treating these as isolated incidents. We are investigating each case and following all reasonable lines of enquiry to find those responsible.

“Our officers are conducting high-visibility patrols in the town and we continue to encourage people to report any suspicious behaviour to us so we can act accordingly.”

Anyone with information about any of these incidents are asked to report to police online or by calling 101.

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