HOMES were evacuated and a huge emergency presence descended on a Sheffield street as a man was arrested on suspicion of trying to produce Class A drugs.
Firefighters, police officers and an Army bomb disposal squad were called to Ridgehill Avenue, in Intake, where residents were forced to leave their houses while chemicals were removed.
Police said a local man, aged in his 30s, was being questioned last night on suspicion of attempting to produce Class A drugs.
Officers said they found chemicals relating to drug production, which were disposed of safely.
A pensioner who lives near the police cordon on Ridgehill Avenue said the incident began at around 10.30am yesterday.
The man, aged 69, who didn’t want to be named, said: “All the police cars and ambulances went up the road but we didn’t know what it was. It’s a bit unnerving. It’s not the best thing you want happening.”
His wife, 65, said residents in the normally peaceful area had been shocked.
“It’s usually very quiet, normally you don’t hear anything during the day,” she said.
Two ambulances were called to the scene, as well as police vans and fire engines, plus a command support unit from the fire service at the bottom of neighbouring Newlands Road.
A white plastic tent was set up, and a bomb disposal team from the Royal Logistics Corps appeared to be focusing partly on a silver Ford car parked on Ridgehill Avenue.
A maroon Vauxhall had been abandoned in the middle of the street.
The presence of the Army disposal team sparked rumours a bomb had been discovered, but the Army unit found no risk of an explosion.
Jane Bullivant, 52, was unable to enter her home on Ridgehill Avenue because of the police cordon.
“Somebody said to me it was something to do with chemicals,” said Jane, a nurse at the Northern General Hospital. “It’s bizarre.”
Another Ridgehill resident found herself blocked by the police cordon when she returned home from work with her children at 4pm.
“I left for work at quarter to eight this morning and have just picked my son up from school, and now I can’t get in my house,” she said.
And medical receptionist Anita Evans, 46, who lives on nearby Ridgeway Road, said: “It makes you feel apprehensive. There are flats for the elderly and a care home just around the corner.”
A spokeswoman for South Yorkshire Police said: “Chemicals in relation to drugs production were found and are being disposed of safely. This is not a bomb scare. There is no concern for public safety.
“A local man in his 30s has been arrested on suspicion of attempting to produce Class A drugs and is currently in police custody.”