SLEEPING neighbours woke up in panic mode after hearing an alarm alerting to people to 'evacuate' in the middle of the night.

Residents reported hearing an emergency alarm going off from Ascot Racecourse during the early hours of Friday, February 14.

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A tannoy was heard blasting 'exit the grandstand' to people who lived a mile away, residents reported on social media.

One reader, who wishes to remain unnamed, contacted the News after being startled by the alarm.

He said: "An emergency announcement from the Ascot Racecourse that seemed to go on very late at night on Thursday and into the early hours of Friday morning caused much distress as far afield as Warfield. 

"It was both disturbing and more importantly from what we could hear concerning as it was thought to be a storm alert or a police warning of an incident/terror warning asking people to leave calmly or some such statement."

Helen Ward said: "It was like something out of a George Orwell book. 'Evacuate, Evacuate'.... scared me arriving home late by myself."

Karen Sutton also said the noise was very loud. She commented: "It’s asking people to evacuate the grandstand...very loud here. Loud enough to hear every word and it has woken up my daughter."

The racecourse explained the alarm was due to an error from an automatic activation alarm.

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A spokesperson at Ascot Racecourse said: "Ascot Racecourse would like to apologise for the disturbance caused to local residents in the early hours of this Friday morning.

"Unfortunately, we experienced an automatic activation of the buildings PA from our fire system.

"It was investigated by our onsite security teams and reset as soon as possible, but we apologise for the inconvenience caused."