A 34-YEAR-OLD man has been charged with administering poison to inflict serious injury after seven police officers were exposed to a substance in a North Oxford flat.

Two officers were still in hospital last night after coming into contact with the noxious substance in Elizabeth Jennings Way on Thursday.

Hamad Nejad, 34, of Elizabeth Jennings Way, was charged yesterday with one count of administering a poison with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm and one count of intimidation of a witness.

The witness intimidation charge relates to an incident between July 26 and August 9.

The block in Elizabeth Jennings Way was evacuated and residents were taken to St Hugh's College nearby as emergency services arrived at the scene following the initial arrival of police at 5.16am.

The Oxford Times:

The police cordon (circled) was set up at the entrance to the street 

It is understood the injured officers were initially made to wait at the scene in case their exposure contaminated the A&E department and caused a wider crisis.

The 60 residents, ordered out of their homes, have all since been allowed to return.

Residents brought tea and coffee out to the small army of emergency service personnel who remained at the scene throughout Thursday.

It has also emerged that Sainsbury’s provided free doughnuts for the police, fire and ambulance crews.

The Oxford Times:

Incident commander Kerry Blair, from Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said his team had worked to make sure the building was safe and that residents returned to their homes.

He said: “Specialist officers from Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, working with Thames Valley Police and South Central Ambulance Service, carried out extensive tests throughout the building and can confirm there is no risk to any residents returning to their homes.”

Area commander for Oxford, Superintendent Joe Kidman, said: “We know this has been distressing for many residents and we are grateful for their patience and cooperation.”

Nejad appeared at Oxford Magistrates’ Court yesterday and was remanded in custody to appear at Oxford Crown Court on December 8.

County councillor for the area, John Howson, was called to the scene on Thursday as is common practice with major incidents.

He said residents were anxious but praised the emergency services for the handling of the incident.

He said: "There's always the risk that it could have been another Gibbs Crescent and clearly that would have been the anxiety among the residents evacuated.

"The difficulty was the unknown nature of the substance but the emergency services acted extremely professionally to make sure everyone was safe.

"St Hugh's College also did a great job of looking after people and keeping them until they could return home."

A resident living near the flat, who asked not to be named, said: "I came out of my house and saw so many police cars and fire engines.

"They told us there was nothing to worry about and we were safe but it was certainly a shock."

The Oxford Times:

Pic. Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Throughout the morning drivers were not allowed to leave the police cordon, which remained in place until mid-afternoon.

Another Elizabeth Jennings Way resident said: "It looked pretty serious when I left for work.

"There were people masked up and what looked like tents being erected in the car park at the back of flats.

"I hope everyone was safe."

The Bright Horizons nursery opposite the flats was closed 'on police instruction' and around 90 parents were contacted first thing and told to stay away.

Communications manager for the nursery, Robert Booth, said: "We made alternative arrangements for nursery children at our sister nurseries nearby and are keeping families updated.

He added: "The safety and wellbeing of our nursery children and of our staff remains our highest priority."

Residents in Elizabeth Jennings Way also provided tea and coffee for the emergency services, who were on the scene from 5am until the early evening.