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Notting Hill church choir continued singing despite fearing terror attack

Fri 10 Nov 2017
By Eno Adeogun

A choir in Notting Hill continued to sing on Thursday evening despite mistaking a nearby anti-gang police operation for a terror attack.

A church member told the Mirror about the moment 80 members of the choir at All Saints Church realised something serious was happening, as police snipers in balaclavas were spotted outside of the building on rooftops at around 8.20pm.

Jake Elsley, 21, said they continued singing for about ten minutes before realising they should try to "get out of the area", ensuring they kept "away from the windows".

 

He said: "We were having a choir rehearsal and heard a helicopter overhead and could see blue flashing lights outside the church door.

"I kept seeing people in the doorway but had no idea what was going on."

Armed police closed off parts of the Portobello Road and a helicopter used searchlights to help with the operation.

After Elsley and the group were evacuated, he tweeted about not being sure what the cause of the raid was.

 

He said: "One of the leaders tells us that there are armed police outside… that we are to lock all doors and get away from the windows.

"[It] was very freaky."

Another member of the choir told The Mirror: "We didn't really know how to respond.

"We were told to carry on singing but there was a clear level of speechlessness in the air."

A spokesman for the Met Police said: "At approximately 8pm, Trident officers conducted pre-planned operation in Colville Square.

"Five were arrested on conspiracy to commit GBH. A number of knives were seized."

The area has now been reopened.

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