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EDITIONS
 Wednesday, 8 January, 2003, 12:41 GMT
Ricin case unnerves community
Police outside flats
Six people were arrested at the Wood Green flat

Waking up to find your street at the centre of a deadly poison scare would shock any community.

Shop owners, shoppers and residents in a suburban part of Wood Green in north London are no exception.

News that six men were arrested in a local flat in connection with the discovery of the poison ricin has unnerved the neighbourhood.

It is frightening to think people may be making this dangerous substance right under your nose

Mukesh Shah
shop owner
Most are shocked that the threat of "international terrorism" was on their doorstep but resolute that life has to go regardless.

Robina, 22, is the manager of the Guardian Pharmacy, on the ground floor below where the arrests were made.

She said the lack of information from police had made people nervous.

She said that since the arrests on Sunday there had been local rumours of people being shot in the flats, of toxic chemicals, because no one knew what was going on.

"The police should have kept us more informed and had the decency to tell us if it was something to be worried about," she told BBC News Online.

"Then people would know rather than assuming the worst.

"Not knowing is worrying people."

Tight community

The owner of the nearby post office and stores, Mukesh Shah, 35, saw the police arrive for the raid on Sunday.

Reg Pavett
Reg Pavett says he is alarmed that the arrests were so close to home
He said he was shocked to see the headlines after the officers had told him it was just routine police business.

"It is frightening to think people may be making this dangerous substance right under your nose," he said.

He said he was concerned that the post office, with its long queues, could have been an easy target for anyone wanting to try out a poison.

Mr Shah said the area had a tight local community where everyone knows everyone else, with few major problems.

But he said people were concerned that the area was going downhill and problems from neighbouring Harringay were moving to the area.

Hairdresser Nazan Cemal, 21, said she was very worried by news of arrests in Wood Green, especially when she found out the premises was across the road from her work.

Nazan Cemal
Nazan Cemal: Worried about what could happen
"Usually we have no problems around here, we have had a few robberies but nothing like this," she said.

"With everything that is going on now, you are thinking what is going to happen to you and you feel very unsafe.

"But if it is going to happen it is going to happen."

Relaxed

Others in the Wood Green area have the same attitude - that if there had been or is going to be some sort of terrorist attack you would not know about it until it was too late.

John Kem, 23, said he was not bothered by the news.

"It's like drugs, it's everywhere," he said.

"I'm fine about it, there's nothing I can do."

Wood Green resident Reg Pavett, 75, said he was very alarmed that the arrests were so close to home, but he added: "You can't worry about things like that."


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07 Jan 03 | Health
12 Sep 02 | Health
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