IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Francois, move along… nothing to see here now

'Very old but friendly' cat seeks a new haunt as cop shop shuts

08 December, 2017 — By Emily Finch

Francois, a popular visitor to Holloway Police Station, which closes this month

YOU’VE heard of a cat burglar, but what about a copper’s cat?

Francois, a grizzled black cat who spends his life hanging out with Islington’s police teams, is only usually spotted by any member of the public unlucky enough to have spent time in a cell at Holloway Police Station.

The shock announce­ment, however, that the police base in Hornsey Road is to close has left the moggy with an uncertain future.

It is one of 37 stations across the city set to be closed by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan in a cost-cutting drive.

“He’s a very old cat but is so friendly,” one constable at the station told the Tribune.

The cat, who treats the parking area at the station as his second home, is often found sitting on idle police cars, keeping an eye on comings and goings.

Holloway Police Station

He also comes to the back entrance, where his meows vie for attention with suspects being booked in. “I’ve been here for nine years and I think he’s been here that time too,” said acting sergeant Jimmy Wood.

“He’s part of the furniture in the backyard and sits on people’s cars when we’re trying to drive. The odd person might give him a treat. He’s always blocking the way. It’s a funny little situation.” He added: “When the building goes, god knows what will happen to him.”

Sgt Wood believes Francois’s owner may live on the Andover estate. “We’re going to have to knock on neigh­bours’ doors,” he said.

Holloway police station is to close by the end of this month. The Town Hall hopes to build 40 affordable homes on the site owned by the Ministry of Justice.

Announcing police station closures throughout London, Mr Khan said: “Cuts to policing budgets have left us with no choice but to take drastic action.”

Islington will have only one police station – in Tolpuddle Street, a 45-minute walk away, too far for a cat to saunter, especially with all the heavy traffic in the way.

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