Basildon Festival Leisure Park's cinema was evacuated today after a fire alarm was set off, causing one woman to be stuck upstairs.

The alarm went off around 4:45pm and the fire department arrived shortly afterwards.

It turned out to be a false alarm and the fire department left at about 5:05pm.

One lady, who wished to remain anonymous, told of how she was unable to get down from the upper floor of the cinema complex as she was in a mobility scooter.

She said: "I left the cinema screen and shortly after the film finished and the alarm went off. I was unable to get get out.

"A member of staff stayed to help us out but it was over before long."

As a result of the evacuation, the films that were being shown had to be stopped and cinema-goers were forced to leave the building and stand on the forecourt.

More than 100 people were left standing outside the entrance to the section of complex where the cinema is, which also has the Aroma Chinese restaurant in it - which was closed at the time of the drill.

However, surrounding outlets in the leisure park, such as Frankie and Benny’s and Coast to Coast were unaffected by the drill.

The false alarm is alleged to have been caused by workers who were drilling through a wall and accidentally hit a cable.

It was only a few days ago that a warehouse near the leisure park, which is colloquially known as Bas Vegas, was engulfed in flames resulting in around 100 firefighters being called to the scene.

Although this was a false alarm, two fire trucks were quickly at the scene.

A spokesperson for the Cineworld in Basildon Festival Leisure Park said: “We can confirm that screenings at Cineworld Basildon were very briefly disrupted due to a technical issue that caused our fire alarm to go off.

"We apologise for any inconvenience caused and have offered refunds to those affected. We would like to thank our customers for their co-operation and look forward to welcoming them back to the cinema.

“We have rigorous fire safety procedures in place to protect all our customers, including evacuation chairs for disabled customers. As we were fully aware that this was a false alarm, these weren’t needed on this occasion, and staff were on hand at all times to assist customers and explain the situation.”