NSW Westfield locked down, evacuated over suspect suitcase
POLICE have said a suspicious suitcase caused the shutdown of part of Westfield Parramatta and Argyle and Church streets.
Trains and buses have resumed but passengers have told to allow extra time.
Police said a member of the public reported a suitcase as being suspicious and with the help of special operations they investigated before they decided it was safe.
They would not say what was in the suitcase nor where it was but shopping centre staff said police were concentrated in the medical services area of Argyle St.
Police were on scene from about 9am and the centre and streets opened again about noon.
Sydney Trains said trains resumed on the Blue Mountains Line, T1 Western Line and the T5 Cumberland Line between Harris Park and Westmead but passengers should listen to announcements and check indicator boards.
Argyle St outside Westfield Shopping Centre was cordoned off for 200m and there was a police helicopter was circling the area. More than half a dozen police cars and a police rescue van were at the site.
Westfield Centre Management had confirmed seven restaurants in the restaurant precinct have been evacuated in addition to the Priceline and Daiso stores.
Mary Jane from Energize Physiotherapy said she and her staff were left "clueless".
"They were right outside our door, we just saw a lot of cops and the rescue squad," she said.
"We were pretty clueless the whole time. The cops were out the front about 9am, the street was closed off at about 9.30am.
"First thing we knew was when we went outside and saw all the cars.
"They had boxes and paper bags and were wearing white jumpsuits."
While Caz from the Argyle Street family Dentist said they had been told nothing during the closure.
"We work in the centre and they assured as that we are safe but no one is allowed past that line," she said.
David Jones employee Natalie Johnson said "There was a message over the loudspeaker and they said that there was a police operation going on. They said to just keep going on as usual."
Centre management just broadcast the following over the PA system: "Attention please: Please be aware that due to a police operation Argyle Street and Church Street entrances are closed and bus and train services have been re-routed."
"I was trying to get to the other side of Church St but it's all blocked off. I'm frustrated. I really don't know what's going on, it looks pretty serious," Fuzz Hamzah said.
"We closed the doors, we had four people here and they just had to wait inside with us. We waited 45 minutes. We weren't sure what was going on," said Nandos manager Damayanth Kari.