CROWDS were evacuated from Regent Circus tonight following reports of a fire.

Emergency crews from Swindon and Stratton were called at 8.20pm and were swiftly on the scene.

Diners and cinemagoers huddled outside in the cold while the professionals investigated.

Dominic Hendrie and Rachel Allen were enjoying a quiet meal together in Prezzo when the alarm sounded.

Dominic, 27, from North Swindon, said: “We were half way through our meal and we heard the alarms go off. We didn’t think we’d end up standing out here in the cold like this tonight, so hopefully it won’t be too long.”

Matt Hardland, 30, from Walcot, had just sat down to watch the lauded Darkest Hour at Cineworld.

He said: “I couldn’t believe it. I’ve been wanting to see this film for ages. It seems to be a false alarm though, so I’m hoping everything’s ok.”

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that it was indeed a false alarm.

A spokesman for the service said that they had received reports of a fire, but on close inspection it was found to have been food burning at one of the restaurants, though they declined to say which.

People started to be ushered back inside at around 9pm.