Sunday, November 23, 2014

Police arrest 26-year-old man at Indian restaurant in Cornwall on suspicion of 'preparing for an act of terrorism connected to Syria'

  • Bangladeshi man arrested in raid in small seaside town of Hayle last night
  • Police are questioning him in relation to investigation into terrorism
  • Officers say the probe relates to extremism in Syria and not domestic plot
  • Follows series of arrests in recent weeks in connection with Syria
  • Police in Cornwall say there is no threat to the local community 
A man is being questioned on suspicion of plotting terrorist attacks after a late night raid at a Cornish curry house.

The 26-year-old was held on Monday night when officers from South East Counter Terrorism Unit moved in on the Balti King Indian restaurant in small town of Hayle, Cornwall.

Police sources say the arrest related to activities over the internet in connection to terrorism in Syria.
The suspect - a Bangladeshi national - is being quizzed on suspicion of preparing for an act of terrorism under Section 5 of the Terrorism Act.

Locals in the normally quiet seaside town said the streets were full of police this morning.
Business owner Paul Triggs said: 'I'm totally horrified. There was a huge amount of police activity.

'Obviously the police van was parked outside and we didn't really know what was going on because we hadn't heard anything. We've just come in this morning to open up the shop and been told what's going on next door.

His wife Gemma added: 'It's somewhere in Cornwall where you don't expect anything like this to happen.' 

Bini Barnes, 43, who manages a shop next to the Balti King learnt of Monday night's arrest as she arrived at work the next morning.

She said: 'I didn't know anything until I turned up to work. 

The police told me it wasn't about bomb-making or anything like that. They said it related to the internet somehow.

'I'm completely gobsmacked, it seems unreal. Living in Hayle, you don't expect this sort of thing to happen on your doorstep.

'I don't know how many police were here overnight, but there have been loads more this morning. There's been at least two vans and we have seen loads of people walking between the vans and the restaurant.

The Balti King's website states: 'The Balti King Indian restaurant has been established for over 10 years in Hayle.

 We serve the best quality Indian and Bangladeshi food, in a contemporary atmosphere.'

Paul and Gemma Triggs, who work near the restaurant, said they were shocked by the police activity
Paul and Gemma Triggs, who work near the restaurant, said they were shocked by the police activity

Police have reassured locals in Hayle, famous for its three miles of sandy beaches, that there was no threat to their safety.

A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said: 'Officers from the South East Counter Terrorism Unit (SECTU) working alongside officers from the Devon and Cornwall Police conducted a warrant in Hayle, Cornwall, on Monday, November 3.

'A 26-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of preparing for an act of terrorism, under Section 5 of the Terrorism Act.

'The man, who was arrested in Hayle, is being questioned by officers from the SECTU at a police station in the Devon and Cornwall area.

'This arrest relates to an investigation by the SECTU and officers would like to reassure residents that the police activity is in relation to conflicts overseas and is not linked to any immediate threat to local communities or anywhere else in the UK.'

The Balti King Indian restaurant - where the man was arrested - has been in the town for around 10 years
The Balti King Indian restaurant - where the man was arrested - has been in the town for around 10 years

Superintendent Jim Pearce, West Cornwall commander, told a press conference: 'I can tell you that we worked with officers from the South East counter terrorism unit, we assisted them in a pre-planned warrant to arrest a male under section five of the terrorism act.

'This was a low key arrest, proportionate to the circumstances.

 The person in our custody needs to be interviewed and we need to discuss the investigation that is in hand.

'It doesn't involve local people, or any body in the UK. There is no threat to the local community. 
'I can understand that local people have concerns but I would like to reassure them that the investigation is not locally based, it is overseas.'

The arrest comes after a 21-year-old man, a 32-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman were arrested by anti-terror police in three seperate probes all linked to Syria last month.

Officers searched two properties in Bedfordshire, two in west London and one in Hackney, north east London after raids over the last three weeks.

Four terror suspects were also charged with plotting to kill policemen and soldiers in London drive-by shootings earlier last month.

Tarik Hassane, 21, Suhaib Majeed, 20, Nyall Hamlett, 24, and Momen Motasim, 21, all from London, appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court amid tight security as they were charged with an Islamic State-inspired gun plot.

It was alleged to have been formulated following a fatwa by a senior ISIS terrorist.

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