Dozens of people were forced to wait outside in the cold as a shopping centre was evacuated this afternoon.
Customers at Hempstead Valley in Gillingham gathered outside after the fire alarm system sounded.
One eyewitness told KentOnline the alarm went off at around 2pm, with everyone having to wait outside for approximately 30 minutes.
They said: “All I've heard is there was a problem in M&S and they set off the alarm accidentally and couldn’t turn it off.”
“We were Christmas shopping when we heard a fire alarm go off in TK Maxx,” another added.
“We just thought it was a drill, until we saw the hoards of people being evacuated.
“It was chaos trying to leave as there was gridlock traffic everywhere.”
Two fire engines were also called to the scene.
Shoppers have since been allowed back into the centre following the alert.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service confirmed they responded to a false alarm at 1.45pm today.
Hempstead Valley has been contacted for a comment.