Two held after port anti-terror swoop

ANTI-TERRORIST police today arrested a man and woman after a vehicle allegedly containing "a number of weapons" was stopped at Felixstowe port by Customs officers, Scotland Yard said.

By Richard Cornwell

ANTI-TERRORIST police today arrested a man and woman after a vehicle allegedly containing "a number of weapons" was stopped at Felixstowe port by Customs officers, Scotland Yard said.

The suspects, a man and a woman who are both white UK residents, were being held at a central London police station.

Police refused to comment on any links they may allegedly have with specific terrorist groups.


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A spokesman for Scotland Yard said in a statement: "We can confirm officers from the Metropolitan Police Anti-Terrorist Branch arrested a man and a woman under the Terrorism Act 2000 at approximately 4am today.

"The arrests are as a result of a vehicle being stopped at Felixstowe by Her Majesty's Customs & Excise on Sunday.

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"The vehicle was found to contain a number of weapons."

The police station where the suspects were being held was not named.

A probe into the find, exclusively revealed on The Evening Star's website yesterday, has moved forward with the news that Customs officers who discovered the consignment were thought to have foiled a major terrorist attack on the British mainland.

With the country still on red alert following the September 11 New York atrocities and the discovery in the past few days of an IRA hit list, there have been fears of fresh attacks on sensitive targets.

The weapons were discovered inside a car which was hidden in a container which arrived at the port on Sunday evening.

It is believed the arms were found as part of a routine inspection, though there have been suggestions that they were detected with the new £2.5 million x-ray machine which was brought to search for smuggled cigarettes and tobacco.

A Customs and Excise spokesman said today that the service was liaising with the Metropolitan Police over the recovery of a vehicle at the port.

He refused to say what had been contained in the vehicle or to confirm or deny whether if it was explosives or guns.

Customs chiefs are refusing to say where the ship had come from before it reached Felixstowe.

One Customs source said: "If the Press had not found out about this incident, then no information would be released at all."

Part of the port is sealed off while Customs officials and other experts examine the car and the container, and carry out other investigations.

A Bomb Squad from 621 Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal was called in "as a precaution."

No unauthorised personnel was allowed in to the no-go zone, and although it is a major operation, it is understood that there is no question of any threat to the safety of the general public or workers at the port.

Paul Davey, port corporate affairs manager, said: "It is a sensitive issue and we have been told not to say anything.''

Port operations have not been affected.

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