Three homes in a Gelderland town have been evacuated after smoke was seen rising from the site of a suspected illegal drugs laboratory.

Two people were arrested after police wearing bulletproof vests raided a snack bar on Stationsweg, Wezep, on Sunday evening.

Neighbours were ordered to leave their homes for around two hours because of fears that hazardous substances could leak from the building. They were allowed to return shortly before midnight.

The business, known as ‘t Trefpunt, was closed for six months last this year after police found hundreds of cannabis plants on the premises. The owner was arrested at the time on suspicion of large-scale cultivation and money laundering.

Police would not say which drugs were being produced on the site. “We think going by what we found inside that this was a drugs laboratory,” spokeswoman Jennifer Schoorlemmer told local newspaper De Stentor.

A specialist police team took samples from the scene and examined the equipment to establish what was being produced there. Schoorlemmer also said a large team of firefighters was called out because of the risk of hazardous chemicals.

“You never know what substances are simmering away there or not,” she said. “There is always a danger, which is why the firefighters are on standby. Once the area is made safe the CID will begin an investigation.”

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