‘Crack factory’ find prompts evacuation of street

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.

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“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.”