Neighbour tells of dramatic scenes at Apsley Lock siege

All three emergency services are at the scene.Picture by  Bilal Altaf.
All three emergency services are at the scene.Picture by Bilal Altaf.

A police siege lasting several hours ended when officers armed with riot shields stormed a flat.

Worried neighbours alerted the emergency services at 11.15am today (Monday) after smelling smoke coming from a property in Lock House.

Once on the scene, it was established that there was a man inside the Apsley Lock property in Imperial Way who was refusing to come out.

Neighbour Gavin Williams said: “He had threatened to blow the block up. He had a knife and he had locked himself in the bathroom.

“The gentleman was brought down in a very dishevelled state.

“He had his underpants on but he had no trousers or socks and shoes on and he was screaming and ranting.

“He was literally dragged out. He just didn’t know what day of the week it was. It was very sad and unsettling to see.”

During the standoff the road was cordoned off and a police officer spent some time up a ladder at a window to the flat in an attempt to reason with the man.

Neighbouring flats had been evacuated and National Grid workers were called in to turn off the gas due to safety concerns.

Police eventually decided to force their way into the property.

A Herts Constabulary spokesman said: “Officers knocked at the flat but on receiving no answer called the fire brigade and neighbouring flats were evacuated as a precaution. The occupant of the flat, a man in his 30s, refused to engage with the officers, who became concerned about his behaviour.

“Officers forced entry to the flat and detained the man under the Mental Health Act.”

Gavin said that he and other neighbours have been experiencing problems with the man, believed to be 34 and originally from London, since he moved in four-and-a-half years ago.

“It has been a bit of a nightmare,” he said. “We are hoping he is put somewhere that is more appropriate for him and the rest of us can get some peace and quiet.”