Police have confirmed that the fart which yesterday caused chaos in a crowded hotel lift in London’s Russell Square was not a terror fart. Despite the incident initially being treated as a suspected terror attack, the authorities now believe that the farter – identified in the press as a twenty two year old student from Penge – wasn’t politically motivated and wasn’t connected to any terror groups. “We are now sure that the fart wasn’t planned, but rather spontaneous, the result of gastric illness rather than radicalism,” a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police told a press conference this afternoon. “Consequently, the farter has been released without charge. Although he is currently under medical observation in case of further dangerous emissions.” The fart, so loud that it could be heard half a mile away and so powerful that it shook windows in adjoining streets, erupted at approximately nine o’clock yesterday evening, jamming the lift’s mechanism and stranding it’s occupants between floors with the fart’s poisonous stench. “Every minute that the lift was stuck, fears for the safety of the occupants grew,” explained the police spokesperson. “It was judged by officers attending the scene that if it smelt that overpowering outside the lift, then anyone inside would be at risk of choking.”

Indeed, the first police officers to arrive on the scene found themselves beaten back by the fumes emanating from the lift shaft. “None of them was equipped with respirators or protective clothing,” explained the spokesperson. “In addition to breathing difficulties, some of them also reported suffering skin abrasions.” The spokesman, however, denied press reports that at least one of the officers had sprayed himself in the face with CS gas in the hope that it would disperse the fart fumes and enable him to breath more easily. Eventually the London Fire Brigade was called in and, wearing full protective gear and respirators, succeeded in bringing the lift down to the ground floor, where they prised open the doors. “As the doors opened a stench so pungent we could smell through our breathing masks rushed out of the lift,” fire fighter Ronnie Breeches subsequently told the London Evening Advertiser. “We were convinced that we’d only find dead bodies in that lift – it just didn’t seem possible that anyone could have survived direct and prolonged exposure to something like that!”

Incredibly, despite the almighty fart having left the occupants of the lift gasping for breath, they were still alive when the fire fighters reached them. Rescuers described those afflicted by the anal explosion as ‘highly distressed’, with many suffering serious respiratory problems and stinging eyes. All were taken to hospital, with several being placed in intensive care. “Unfortunately, one elderly lady later passed away,” the police spokesperson confirmed. “Obviously, until a post-mortem has been carried out, we can’t say for sure whether her death was directly the result of the noxious fumes released from the farter’s arse.” Unconfirmed reports claim that the victim – believed to be an American tourist – had turned green before expiring. One mystery still perplexing the emergency services is that of how the farter’s underwear and trousers remained intact and completely unscathed by his enormous bottom blast. “We were convinced that he must have at least followed through. Believe me, the only time I’ve smelt anything even close to that bad was when someone had shit their pants,” fire fighter Breeches explained to the Advertiser. “So we were prepared to hose the entire interior of the lift down once we’d opened the doors, to wash the crap away. But when we got in there, it was clean and there wasn’t so much as a single skid mark on either the perpetrators pants or trousers! They hadn’t even been blown off by the force of the blast!”

The sheer ferocity of the fart had resulted in initial reports that it was a terror fart, released by a jihadist, resulting the police deploying specialist bum sniffing dogs in the area, in case there were other terrorists planning to break wind in the vicinity. “Based on its explosive power, the fact that the farter had been described as being ‘olive skinned’ and reports of the fart’s toxicity, led us to believe that it might have been one of those evil-smelling Arab farts,” the police spokesperson told the press. “The sort which are fuelled by dates and frequently disrupt bazaars in the Middle East, usually when a westerner is trying to haggle over the price of a rug, or something. Anyway, we found it hard to believe that any westerner could have unleashed something that noxious.” Notably, unlike many other recent suspect terror incidents, ISIS at no point attempted to claim responsibility for the fart. “To be fair, though, even if they had been behind it, it is doubtful they would claimed responsibility,” the police spokesperson opined. “I mean, who would want something as evil as that fart attributed to them? Even the actual perpetrator has asked for his name to be withheld, he’s so embarrassed by it all.”

Not surprisingly, the police have been condemned in some quarters for what has been perceived as a massive overreaction to someone breaking wind in public. “It’s quite ridiculous. Between them, the police, the government and the press have created such an atmosphere of fear, that now even a fart can trigger a huge anti-terror operation,” Henry Windover of the human rights watchdog Liberty told the BBC. “It’s not as if this is the first such false alarm. Only last month Leicester Square tube station was evacuated after a tramp shat himself on the down platform of the Piccadilly line – soldiers in NBC suits were rushed to the area and carried out a controlled detonation of the tramp’s soiled trousers! It was an incredible waste of time and public money!” Windover expressed his fears that, as usual, the government could use such incidents as an excuse to place further curbs on Britons’ civil rights. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we see the government trying to introduce legislation making it a criminal offence to fart in public as a result of this fiasco,” he told the BBC. “Before you know it, releasing a ‘silent but deadly’ on the bus could result in being banged up in Belmarsh and subjected to a secret terror trial!”