BUSINESSES on Southampton Road are being evacuated because of a suspected gas leak.

Emergency services were called to the scene at about 11.30am to reports of a damaged gas main.

The Journal understands the leak occurred near to Screwfix, and a 100 metre exclusion zone has been set up around the store.

The main was damaged after a digger went through a gas pipe underground this morning.

Southampton Road has been closed between Tesco and the College Roundabout and traffic is being diverted.

Hannah Brett, a spokesman for gas compan SGN, said: "We are attending in our capacity as the gas emergency service provider in the south of England."

She said engineers were on site establishing the extent of the damage and carrying out repairs on the pipe.

A safety cordon will be maintained until the pipe has been made safe.

A spokesman for Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service said they always attend gas leaks to make sure the area can be made safe.

More as we have it.