An artist caused large areas of west London to be sealed off this morning after she left five packages police suspected were bombs around Shepherd's Bush and Hammersmith.

Some of the "art installations" were cardboard boxes out of which nails protruded.

Police cordoned off five sites around Shepherd's Bush Green shortly after 8am following reports of suspicious packages in the area, and underground rail travel on the Central and Hammersmith and City lines was disrupted at the height of the morning rush hour.

The objects were placed just a short walk away from Shepherd's Bush underground station, where one of the devices in the abortive July 21 London bombings was set off but failed to explode.

The 36-year-old artist turned herself in at Shepherd's Bush police station while police officers were isolating the artworks.

The unnamed woman, who lives in Shepherd's Bush, was arrested by the police for causing a public nuisance but has not been charged. She is expected to be questioned later today.

Police gave the all-clear shortly after 11am, but at around midday at least two of the installations were still in place.

One, in Charecroft Way, consisted of three cardboard tubes supporting a polystyrene "altar" on which stood some flowers and a note apparently lamenting the loss of one "Pelagius".

It read: "Your absence has gone through us like thread through a needle. Everything we do is stitched with its colour."

Mark Yould, of Old Boot shoe repair in the West 12 shopping centre close to Shepherd's Bush Green, said that all the shops in the building had been evacuated for around 20 minutes and that the hoaxer should have warned people in advance.

"It's not like there is no fear in the air already," he said. "It seems an incredibly stupid thing to do - but I suppose there's nowt so queer as folk."

Guardian Unlimited

Stupid bitch!