A giant hole has been opened up just outside the closed-down Debenhams in Swindon town centre. 

But, people should not panic - it is not evidence of a gas explosion, an unexpected sinkhole or the entry point of some sort of underground creature.

But it turns out it is just an exploratory hole to allow contractors to have a look at what is underneath because it might be helpful in the future. 

Addressing the fenced-off area at the end of The Parade, a council spokesperson said: "It is a trial hole to gain further information on what is in the ground in the area to prepare for future improvement work."

The hole's presence has caused bemusement among some shoppers, with one remarking to their companion as they walked past: "I've always said the town centre was a 'bit of a pit' but that's taking it too far."

That end of The Parade near the closed Debenhams has experienced a significant amount of change in recent months because of the ongoing Fleming Way development. 

The Underpass that ran through there has been demolished, along with the two shops that stood on either side of it. 

Currently, there is a pedestrian diversion in place while the big bus boulevard project continues.