Could SAS be making visits to Suffolk?
ARE world-renowned SAS troops on secret undercover work in Suffolk?Mystery today surrounds the frequent visits of a Chinook helicopter to Sizewell nuclear power station - and speculation is rife that the crack military officers are involved in providing security for the reactor.
ARE world-renowned SAS troops on secret undercover work in Suffolk?
Mystery today surrounds the frequent visits of a Chinook helicopter to Sizewell nuclear power station - and speculation is rife that the crack military officers are involved in providing security for the reactor.
It could be a prime target for terrorists - and the Special Air Service is known to be playing a leading role in protecting key facilities around the country, particularly in London.
Residents say a powerful military Chinook visits the power plant regularly, and the twin-rotor aircraft are known to be the chosen method of transport for the SAS.
A Chinook last week shook homes across Suffolk, visiting police headquarters and flying over Aldeburgh up towards Sizewell.
But no-one will say what its reason was for flying around the county.
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Suffolk's army bases say it was not their aircraft, the MoD says such aircraft are not tracked, and no-one claims to know where it was from - only saying it may have been on a training mission.
The helicopter was first seen taking a low-flying hop over homes, shaking properties in Trimley St Mary, before heading off to Martlesham, where it landed, and then on to Aldeburgh.
Stephen Lye, of Aldeburgh, who works as a security guard at Sizewell A, said: “I saw the Chinook fly over my house heading in a northerly direction towards Sizewell and it was flying very low.
“It was very noisy because it made me wake up with a startle as I was asleep because I had been on night shift.
“I rushed to the window to see it heading off into the distance but lost sight of it quite quickly behind some trees which is why I knew it was low.
“These type of helicopters do exercises around the Sizewell B power station and they are used to deliver equipment to the power station.”
Kay Ransby, who lives next to police HQ, saw the Chinook land at the force helicopter pad.
“We are used to the police helicopter landing and taking off at this site - we have also experienced an army helicopter landing there,” she said.
“At teatime last Wednesday we heard what we recognised as helicopter engine noise, but this time it was far louder than normal.
“The helicopter landed just inside the police grounds, about 30 metres from our house, and then took off again over the houses in our road. We watched as it rose up and flew off.”
A police spokeswoman confirmed the Chinook landed at police HQ but said it was “a routine landing” and knew no details of what its mission was in Suffolk.
Army spokesman Robert Mead said no flying took place from the Woodbridge base and Chinooks were not based at Wattisham search and rescue unit.
The Ministry of Defence said there were no low flying exercises taking place in the area.
Suffolk is used for 2,742 hours of low flying a year by the military - mainly over rural areas.
Military fixed wing aircraft are judged to be low flying when they are less than 2,000 feet from the ground, and light propeller driven aircraft and helicopters are judged to be low flying below 500 feet.
Have you seen the Chinook on its travels? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk
The Special Air Service was created by David Stirling in 1941 as a desert raiding force, with troops sent in behind German lines in Northern Africa to carry out sabotage missions along Rommel's supply lines.
It was disbanded for a short time after the war but was revived and sent in to operate in several international conflicts.
The Counter Revolutionary War wing was formed in 1972 to deal with counter terrorism operations and bodyguard work.
SAS troops have a reputation for being the very best in the British military - their operations totally secret and few details ever emerge.
In the past 35 years its officers have been called in to deal with a number of sensitive and dangerous situations, including defusing aircraft hijackings, being involved in the Libyan Embassy siege, and surveillance work.
More recently they have been working in Baghdad and Afghanistan on rescue missions, hunting down Taliban and Al-Qaeda leaders.
7 Squadron based at RAF Odiham operate twin-rotor Chinook HC2 helicopters and support SAS and SBS troops in war zones.
In the Gulf War of 1991, Chinooks from 7 Sqn placed SAS foot patrols into Iraq and delivered SBS sabotage teams close to Baghdad.
Pilots of Chinooks - which have a crew of four, pilot, navigator and two load masters - are trained to fly a tree-top level, often at night, so sneak under enemy radar.
The helicopters are armed with a variety of machine guns at the rear and side and special equipment to avoid and fool attacking missiles.