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Machete attack in Camden Town fuels ‘turf war’ fears

Business owners in Inverness Street warn area is becoming a no-go zone

21 September, 2017 — By Tom Foot

BAR bosses have called on authorities to get tough on drug dealers in Camden Town before someone dies.

Business owners in Inverness Street say they have had enough after witnessing a “turf war” machete attack last week. They believe the “lucrative” Camden Lock street trade has been pushed away from the canal, causing friction between rival groups.

Michael McDermott, licensee at long-standing tapas restaurant Bar Gansa and Boho, said: “Crowds of young men in numbers of up to 25 are dealing on the high street. They have made Inverness Street their base and have taken total control of the street. It has turned the street into a virtual no-go zone. There is zero police presence during the week.”

He added: “I have run bars across London for 20 years and I have never witnessed anything as bad as this. It resembles a scene from The Wire with violence and intimidation lurking everywhere.”

The Wire is a hit TV series about the drugs trade on the rough streets of Baltimore.

Businesses are questioning why they pay such high business rates and fees to Camden Town Unlimited, the Business Improvement District (BID).

Chris Singam, who owns several bars in Camden Town, said: “Last Friday, we witnessed a car pull up around where the drug dealers and youths were and two men alighted, chasing the drug dealers with machetes. We now demand that something is done immediately before someone gets tragically killed.”

He added that “a more draconian, aggressive approach” than simple “conversations with the communities” was required.

Councillor Abdul Hai, Camden Council cabinet member, said: “The council is committed to tackling drug activity in Camden Town and across the borough.  We know that a visible presence makes people safer and we are working in partnership with police, businesses and other agencies to coordinate and increase the resources we have available.”

He added: “Operations to reduce drug dealing in Camden Town are in place. We would always encourage businesses and residents to report any criminal activity and drug-related activity to police and the council as quickly as possible.”

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