SHOCKED shoppers were ordered to leave a Southampton supermarket after reports of an armed raid at the rear of the shop.

Sainsbury's in Lordshill was evacuated last night and closed for about an hour after staff raised the alarm.

One of the shoppers caught up in the drama contacted the Echo and said he heard people screaming and shouting "run for your lives".

The man, who did not wish to be named, added: "We were near the back of the store and all of a sudden we heard a commotion.

"We could hear someone shouting for security."

He said the security guards went to the back of the shop and a few moments later people started running towards the doors.

"Someone said 'Get your children and run'.

"We all went into the car park.It happened so quickly I didn't have time to think. I just listened to the staff. It was just the case of getting out of the shop as quickly as we could," he said.

Another customer, who was in the store when the incident happened, said: "Everyone was screaming and running out of the shop. I was scared."

The woman said she had been told there were five people trying to break into the rear of the shop with a crowbar.

John Sillence, 58, from Nursling, said he went to the shop shortly after 7pm and found customers in the car park.

Interviewed at the scene he said: "They wouldn't let me in. I waited for about an hour to get in.

"I was told that there was a break-in at the back of the store."

He said customers were allowed back into the store at around 8pm but they were told that the cigarette kiosk and petrol station would remain closed for the rest of the evening.

No police cars could be seen the front of the shop last night but it is understood that officers were carrying out investigations in the delivery area at the rear.

A spokesman for Sainsbury's said last night: "We can confirm our Lordshill store was evacuated earlier this evening following an incident. We are assisting police with their enquiries."

The Echo approached Hampshire police for a comment but they were unable to provide one before the paper went to press.