Police are hunting for a group of males after a blaze was started in a packed restaurant in Abbey Road.

Officers were called at around 10.30pm yesterday (Friday, April 28) to reports that a number of males had entered the St John's Wood restaurant.

The eatery targeted was reportedly Monak, a pan-Asian sushi house.

It was reported that the group were threatening staff with knives and started a fire.

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The males left the scene before police arrived.

Several people fled a basement after the fire was started.

The London Fire Brigade was called at 10.35pm and the blaze was under control by 11.23pm.

There were no reported injuries but half of the ground floor of the restaurant was damaged.

Firefighters gave vital survival guidance to those reported to be inside the building at the time.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the fire brigade and Metropolitan Police.

Police say there have been no arrests at this stage.

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A Met police spokesperson said: "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."

Anyone with information is asked to call 101, ref 7931/28apr, or - in order to remain anonymous - to contact Crimestoppers.

Six fire engines and around 40 firefighters from Paddington, West Hampstead, Willesden and surrounding fire stations tackled the blaze.