At least 80 people were evacuated from a neighbourhood in the British capital by armed Scotland Yard officers on Sunday after a stand-off with a man believed to have stockpiled petrol and other combustible material. The Metropolitan Police said they were “treating seriously” reports that the man has “quantities of petrol and combustible material” at his home in Northolt in north-west London. Armed officers have been outside since the early hours of Friday over concerns about his mental health. Around 80 residents have been forced out of their homes and a 200-metre cordon has been in place around the property on Wood End Lane since Friday.
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“Whilst it is not known exactly what the man has inside the property police are treating seriously reports that the items appeared hazardous and dangerous, as they are said to include quantities of petrol and combustible material. It has also been reported that attempts have been made to prevent access to the property. Police believe that the man is alone inside the address,” a Met Police spokesperson said.
“Due to concerns for the safety of the man at the address, local residents and the responding officers, police did not attempt to access the property on arrival,” the police said in a statement.
Police negotiators and armed police remain at the location.
Police are concerned for the man’s well-being and believe he may currently be experiencing mental health issues, which could be exacerbated by police action or may make his behaviour unpredictable.
Chief Superintendent Paul Martin, in charge of policing the area, said: “Our aim is to bring this to a safe conclusion for everyone. I know that our operation has been ongoing for some time now and that it is causing disruption and inconvenience to local residents and the community of Northolt.
“I would like to thank them for their continued patience and cooperation. I can understand why people may be feeling frustrated or concerned. Their local officers are out on duty today to speak to local people, keep them updated and understand any concerns that they may have.
“The operation will continue for as long as is necessary and I would like to stress that we are doing all we can -using all our tactics – to end this incident safely.”
The police stressed that there is no suggestion that this incident is terrorist related, nor is it linked to any other ongoing police operation or investigation.