London (CNN) – The offices of Britain’s interior ministry in London were placed on lockdown Thursday after a man was stabbed on the street outside, in a knife attack UK Home Secretary Priti Patel described as “horrific” and “unprovoked.”
Police were called to Marsham Street, where the Home Office building is located, on Thursday afternoon “following a report of a man with a knife at the location,” London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
They attended to one man with knife injuries and arrested another “on suspicion of grievous bodily harm” who was taken into custody.
The suspect is believed to have been in possession of a ferret around the time of the attack. “A ferret is in police care following a stabbing outside the UK’s Home Office,” the Metropolitan Police told CNN.
Officers were caring for the little creature at the scene, the police said. The animal could be spotted in a green and white pet carrier, which was cordoned off at a second crime scene.
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Images from the scene showed a bloodied man being led away by police. A cordon was set up around the building in the wake of the attack.
Eyewitness Gareth Milner, who was sat on a wall outside the Home Office eating lunch, told CNN he saw “a number of armed police” arrive on the scene and enter the building.
“Sometime later a gentleman was escorted out by paramedics with what looked like dressing pressed to his face, which looked quite bloodied, and his shirt was open, [I] could not tell if blood on body was from face,” he said.
Police told CNN the incident is not believed to be terrorism-related.
“All my thoughts are with the victim and their family following [a] horrific unprovoked knife attack on Marsham Street,” Patel, the Home Secretary, tweeted Thursday.
The Home Office has been at the forefront of tackling knife crime in the UK.
British police recorded a total of 40,577 offenses involving a knife or sharp instrument last year — 10,000 more than in 2011 — while knife offenses have risen for five consecutive years.
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