NOON UPDATE: At least three fire engines and an estimated 60 police, including some armed response officers, were called out just after 8.30am today after an alleged fire-bombing attack on a business close to Ikea off the Purley Way.
A 32-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of threatening behaviour and causing criminal damage.
First reports from eyewitnesses at the scene suggested that no one had been hurt, which was later confirmed by the emergency services, although there has been extensive damage to a building and a vehicle.
Hydro Cleansing Ltd, with its head office on Beddington Farm Road, made the emergency call just after 8.30am.
It is suggested that this is not the first attack to have been made against this company.
According to an eyewitness account, there were around 30 people in the building at the time of the attack. The light industrial site had several highly flammable and potential explosive pieces of kit nearby, including four oxyacetylene cylinders.
“It was a deliberate attack of trying to burn the building… petrol thrown against the back door [and] inside the excavator.”
It is claimed that the person responsible, who was still on the scene when the emergency services arrived, told police that they were owed £3,000 by the company.
A spokesman for Hydro Cleansing Ltd denied that any such debts existed.
In the immediate aftermath, Hydro Cleansing staff were evacuated, with road closures implemented between the Royal Mail sorting office, Coomber Way, Ampere Way and the Therapia Lane tram stop until the arrest was made some 45 minutes after the initial call-out.
Police dog units were called in to assist with a search of the buildings and nearby area.
Beddington Farm Road was reopened by 10.30am, although the entrance to business premises remained sealed off as a crime scene.
In a statement issued to Inside Croydon, a Scotland Yard spokesperson said, “Police were called at 08.34hrs on Wednesday, June 16, following reports that a man had made threats towards a second person.
“Officers carried out a search of the area. Several small fires were discovered and extinguished by officers.
“A 32-year-old man was arrested in the vicinity of Beddington Farm Road on suspicion of arson.
“There were no reported injuries. Enquiries continue.”
It is claimed that this is just the latest malicious attack against the business in recent months, with the offices having suffered tens of thousands of pounds of damage in the past 18 months.
This report was updated at midday to include the statement from the Metropolitan Police and some further details
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