Chinook SAS mystery deepens

MYSTERY over a Chinook's visits to Suffolk deepened today after the powerful military helicopter was again seen over the county.

MYSTERY over a Chinook's visits to Suffolk deepened today after the powerful military helicopter was again seen over the county.

Residents said for the second Thursday running the aircraft took the same low route over the twin Trimley villages before appearing to head towards police headquarters at Martlesham.

The previous week it landed at force HQ before going on to visit the Aldeburgh area, where residents say Chinooks are regular visitors to the Sizewell nuclear power station complex.

One criticism of the helicopter was that it was taking a low-flying hop over homes, shaking properties, but at present there are no low flying exercises or operations taking place in Suffolk, known officially as Low Flying Area 10.


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A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defence said it was not known where the Chinook had come from and no complete record was kept of military aircraft movements.

Neither police nor Army officials have been able to shed any light on the helicopter's mission or home base.

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Because of the Chinook's visits to Sizewell it has been suggested it could be carrying SAS personnel involved in protecting the reactor from terrorists.

The twin-rotored aircraft are known to be the chosen method of transport for the Special Air Service.

Concern has been voiced before about security at Sizewell in the wake of the World Trade Centre suicide plane attacks.

A special Evening Star investigation showed back in 2002 - nine months after 9/11 - that it was still possible to breach the two-mile radius air exclusion zone around the power station in an aircraft loaded with what could have been high explosive and swoop within a whisker of its famous dome.

A pilot flew a Star photographer at an altitude of 750ft - well below the 2,000ft exclusion zone. On Board was a bag big enough to carry 7kg of high explosive, Semtex, though it was packed with sugar. Just 400g of explosive was enough to wreak havoc over Lockerbie.

No questions were asked when the light aircraft was hired from an East Anglian airport to fly over some of the region's famous landmarks.

The Chinooks are said to do exercises around Sizewell B and used to deliver equipment to the power station.

Have you seen the Chinook? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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