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Police crack down on issues including drugs and illegal immigrants in huge Finsbury Park operation

PUBLISHED: 17:41 20 January 2014 | UPDATED: 17:41 20 January 2014

Thousands of travellers were stopped

Thousands of travellers were stopped

Archant

An army of police, transport cops and ticket officers swarmed through the notoriously hard to patrol area of Finsbury Park in a massive operation last week.

A total of 14 arrests for drugs, theft and immigration offences were made as more than 40 police and 25 PCSOs from Islington, Hackney and Haringey, along with drug sniffer dogs, and 60 revenue officers, stopped thousands as they left the station.

Cautions, warnings and penalties were also dished out to a further 175 people and three men were scheduled for deportation.

In Stroud Green Road a food shop was found to be housing illegal workers – five beds and a shower were found in the back of the store and two men were arrested.

Two other business nearby were found to be stealing electricity and had their power cut off.

Officers also tackled rough sleepers and drinkers in the park and patrolled the surrounding Blackstock, Seven Sisters, checking premises for licences, illegal immigrants and stolen goods in the operation dubbed Pentagon.

Finsbury Park lies on the cusp of the three boroughs and as a result often falls through the law enforcement net, despite being a hotbed of street robberies and antisocial behaviour.

Sgt Paul Cruise, who was running the operating, said: “It’s a really difficult place to get a grip on and because of the lack of ticket barriers it’s easy for people to come here from all over without paying and commit crime.

“But we’ve started regular meetings and this is the first action to come from it.

“There will be more like this on the way and we’ll get on top of it. It will be interesting to look at crime stats in the coming weeks and see how much it has dropped by.”

Finsbury Park Station has been earmarked for a £50million upgrade, an overhaul which will see ticket barriers installed.

Sergeant Aaron Barnes, from Islington Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We would definitely support that.

“If you come here first thing in the morning, as I do sometimes, it can be quite an unpleasant place, with drunk people shouting or people smoking joints.

“So people who use the station are really supportive of what we are doing here.

“The station staff are really glad to have some support as well - they can feel a bit isolated.”

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