New tenant chased by ‘armed drug gang’ after finding cannabis factory

�A Romford man claims he was forced to “drive for his life” from a gun-wielding drugs gang after he uncovered their cannabis factory in a house he was moving into.

Stephen Wray, 40, was told he was “dead” and had a pistol pointed at him, in the terrifying chase across Romford on March 19.

The day before, Stephen had found himself locked out of his new home in Wolseley Road, in Rush Green.

The locksmith said there was a strong smell of cannabis and called the police. But when officers attended four hours later, they found nothing suspicious.

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Stephen returned the next day with the landlord to change the locks – and found the huge marijuana farm of around 100 plants.

He again called police and offered to stay at the house until help arrived.

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“I was trying to be a good public citizen,” he said. “I went back to change the locks, but I didn’t want to go there. Inside there were plants and all the lights were wired up. It was dangerous.

“I phoned the police again, and they said someone would be there within the hour. I was waiting three hours for them with all that stuff in the house.”

However events took a sinister turn when Stephen went outside and discovered two men with guns tucked into their waistbands watching him.

The terrified locksmith fled in his van but found himself tailed by the gang in three vehicles. He said: “I only went there to change the locks, and I ended up with a drug gang chasing me. I just wanted to get out of there.

“They were flashing their lights at me, I assume for me to stop. One of the cars was then driving alongside me and there was a lad in the back holding a gun at me. The one in the front said ‘I’m going to shoot you. You are dead’.”

He added that another car tried to block him, but he made it to Romford police station, in Main Road, where he reported it to the front desk at 9.45pm.

During the chase Stephen phoned the landlord, who was still in the house, to warn him of the gang outside. He in turn alerted police.

Havering Police confirmed they were contacted a number of times that day, but only escalated the situation to serious when told about the suspects “in vehicles”.

They confirmed they did not respond within their 12-minute guideline, because all units in Havering, as well as those in surrounding boroughs, were attending emergencies.

A spokesman added: “There was no mention of guns until [Stephen] presented himself at the police station.”

Stephen, who is now homeless after refusing to go back to the house, said: “I’m fuming about the whole thing. I was driving for my life. How can members of the public go through that? The drug dealers probably know my number plate. It’s disgusting the way I have been treated and I have been put in that situation.”

Police said an investigation was underway.

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