Terrified customers had to run for their lives after a sushi restaurant was set on fire by a knife-wielding gang.
A group of men stormed into Monak in Abbey Road and threatened staff with knives at around 10.30pm on Friday evening.
They then started a fire inside the pan-Asian sushi house in St John’s Wood, north-west London, and fled the scene before police arrived.
Shocking footage shows flames roaring from the front of the restaurant and thick smoke billowing into the sky as stunned passers-by watched on.
Police confirmed they’ve not yet managed to identify the suspects or make any arrests.
No one is reported to have been badly injured, but the restaurant has been badly damaged..
One local resident described how they saw the devastating aftermath of the attack unfold just a matter of yards from the famous zebra crossing pictured on The Beatles album cover.
The eyewitness told MyLondon: ‘I heard a noise and people started running down the street. I saw people clearly screaming so something was going on.
‘Then I saw flames in the restaurant. I have only heard of one minor injury but it could have been a murder enquiry.
‘There were some people with masks and balaclavas, it was almost military style.
‘I did speak to some of the diners. A woman said it was something to do with gasoline.
‘Another said the fire almost got to his feet but he got out. They looked shocked, bewildered, and stressed.’
A spokesman for Monak issued a statement on the restaurant’s Instagram page which said: ‘We are devastated to announce that our restaurant has been affected by a fire.
‘We wanted to take a moment to address our customers who were present during the fire.
‘We are sorry that you had to witness this traumatic event, but we are grateful for your safety and cooperation during the evacuation.
‘We are grateful for the efforts of the firefighters and the community for their support.’
Monak also confirmed they are already thinking about getting the restaurant open once again and thanked its staff for how they handled the attack.
A spokesman added: ‘We are working hard to get back on our feet and look forward to welcoming you back as soon as possible.
‘We are determined to rebuild our restaurant and continue to provide the food and experience that you know and love.
‘Thanks for our staff and security members who were present during the fire. Your professionalism and determination during this difficult situation was remarkable.’
A Met Police spokesman said: ‘Police were called at around 10:30hrs on Friday, 28 April, to reports that a number of males had entered a restaurant in Abbey Road, NW8, threatening staff with knives and starting a fire.
‘The males made off prior to the arrival of police. The fire was extinguished and there were no reported injuries.
‘An investigation is under way to identify and arrest those responsible, led by dedicated detectives from Central West CID.
‘This will include analysis of all available CCTV among other lines of inquiry. There has been no arrest at this stage.’
Anyone with information is asked to call 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously.
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