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‘Crack factory’ find prompts evacuation of street

PUBLISHED: 16:36 08 March 2012

St Thomas's Road was evacuated Pic: Dieter Perry

St Thomas's Road was evacuated Pic: Dieter Perry

Dieter Perry

More than 80 people were evacuated from their homes for around two hours after police uncovered a suspected crack factory.

St Thomas’s Road, Finsbury Park, was closed shortly after 8pm on Sunday after five fire engines rushed to the scene following reports of a chemical smell, which residents believed was being caused by a gas leak.

On arrival the firefighters found what appeared to be a crack cocaine-making facility, so they called police and started evacuating residents.

A 43-year-old woman and a 55-year-old man have been arrested on suspicion of producing class A drugs and bailed until April 12.

The process of turning cocaine into crack is potentially dangerous, and police cordoned off a large sections of the road – 80 people, including children, were out on the street by about 9pm.

St Thomas’s Road resident Faheem Ahmed, 26, who was among those evacuated, said: “We saw the emergency services turn up and start asking people to leave their homes – they kept taping off more and more of the street.

“We saw our neighbours leaving, so when we got the knock on the door we knew what was coming.

“They gave us 10 minutes, so we got the kids and grabbed some jackets and left. We didn’t take anything with us.

“The children were a bit scared and crying at first, but we calmed them down pretty quickly. I was very glad when we were allowed back in because it was cold and I had work in the 
morning.”

Syed Ahmed, 30, another evacuee, said: “We were just getting ready for bed when the police knocked on the door and told us we had five minutes to get out.

“We thought it was a fire, but when I asked them, they said it was a bit like a gas leak. They said it could be up to five hours, so we all went to a relative’s house.

“We got back in the house about 12.30am. My daughter was fast asleep. I am just glad we are all safe and sound.”


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