Five homes raided under Terror Act

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The Independent Online

Five houses were raided by police today as part of an inquiry into a gang suspected of promoting extremist views and radicalising vulnerable people.

The properties were all in Stoke-on-Trent, including three in Cobridge, one in the High Lane area of Burslem and one in Tunstall, Staffordshire Police said.

A spokesman said the raids were part of an "ongoing investigation into the activities of a small group of people suspected of being involved in promoting violent extremist views and radicalising vulnerable community members".

He added: "They are being conducted under the Terrorism Act and have been prompted by concerns about the activities of a small number of people in the local community."

No-one has been arrested so far, he said.

Police said officers would continue searching four of the five houses this afternoon.

The raid at the Tunstall property was completed earlier today, the force said.

Detectives stressed that they had acted upon the community's concerns and said the operation was the "latest stage of the force's investigation to resolve them and help establish the facts".

The operation posed no direct risk to public safety, a police statement said.

Chief Superintendent Jane Sawyers, divisional commander for Stoke-on-Trent, said: "I am extremely proud of the strong community relations we have in the city and would ask for the public's continued support and vigilance.

"We can only tackle the real and serious threat posed to us all by violent extremism if we all work together.

"Staffordshire Police's role is to protect, reassure and support the local community, and I'm sure that local residents will respond to the news of these searches taking place in a calm and sensible way.

"However, I also fully understand that there may be concerns and feelings of vulnerability.

"We are working closely with our communities to support everyone by keeping them informed about today's operation."