Counter-terror officers probe forest blast

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The Independent Online

An explosion in a remote forest area was being investigated by counter-terrorism officers today.

A member of the public reported the explosion in the Garadhban forest in Gartocharn near Loch Lomond.



Police said there was damage to trees and that they suspected explosives had been involved. UK-wide agencies are helping police assess the scene.



The Northern Diving Group - the Royal Navy's equivalent of the bomb disposal squad - was at the scene today.



A Ministry of Defence spokesman said it had been asked for assistance by Strathclyde Police.



No one was injured and the public was not at risk, the force said.



A source close to the investigation said counter-terrorism officers were at the scene.



Chief Superintendent Calum Murray, Divisional Commander for Argyll, Bute and West Dunbartonshire, said: "As you would expect, when we are dealing with a situation where we suspect that explosives may be involved, it is our immediate priority to assess the situation and to call on expertise where we think it is appropriate.



"By its very nature, this type of assessment and investigation is complex and does take time. I can confirm that we are currently being assisted by agencies from across the UK.



"I would stress that the site is secure and that there is no risk to public safety. I would ask that if anyone has seen anything suspicious in or around the area, or has any information - no matter how insignificant it may seem - that they contact the Police or Crimestoppers. All calls will, of course, be treated in the strictest of confidence.



"As I am sure you can understand, this is an ongoing investigation that is going to take some time to complete. We will release more information as that investigation progresses."

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "Strathclyde Police are currently investigating this incident and are keeping ministers informed of their progress - they have reassured us that there is no threat to public safety."