Former PCSO among six arrested in anti-terror raids across London

 

Six people including three living just over a mile from the Olympic site and a former police community support officer have been arrested over a suspected terror plot.

The alleged plan involved Islamist extremists with potential targets in the UK, but was not linked to the Olympics, it is understood.

Today's arrests were part of a pre-planned intelligence-led operation by the Metropolitan Police counter-terror command along with armed officers, but the threat was not thought to be imminent.

Five men and a woman were arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism and were being held at a south-east London police station, police said.

Three of the men, believed to be members of the same Bangladeshi family, were arrested in a raid on a house in Stratford, east London.

One, aged 24, was Tasered during his arrest but did not require hospital treatment, the Met spokesman added. The others were aged 18 and 26.

Neighbours said the occupants had been there for more than a year and there were frequently people coming and going from the property.

They spoke of seeing men in Muslim-style robes and a woman in a burka.

Trainee taxi driver Stephen Maguire, 23, said he heard the police from his bedroom in Eastbourne Road, which overlooks the front of the house.

"I heard the biggest bang ever and I saw a massive cloud of smoke and torches going up at the windows," he said.

"It sounded like they were gunshots but they weren't."

In Ealing, west London, a 29-year-old man was arrested in the street, and a 21-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman were held at separate residential premises.

Some of those held are understood to be British nationals, and one is a former police community support officer.

A spokeswoman for Scotland Yard said: "One of the men arrested by the Counter Terror Command today served as a PCSO for the MPS from May 2007 to September 2009 when he resigned.

"He was not deployed in any specialist or sensitive roles."

The force said that eight residential premises in east, west and north London and one business premises in east London were being searched.

The arrests come after Jonathan Evans, the director-general of the Security Service, warned last month that Britain had experienced a "credible terrorist attack plot about once a year since 9/11".

"In back rooms and in cars and on the streets of this country there is no shortage of individuals talking about wanting to mount terrorist attacks here," he added.

"The threat is real and remains with us today."

The threat to the UK from international terrorism is currently rated substantial - the third highest of five levels.

The rating is set by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (Jtac), based at MI5's headquarters at Thames House in central London, but is independent of the service.

PA

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
Voices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
News
Ireland will not find out whether gay couples have won the right to marry until Saturday afternoon
news
News
Kim Jong-un's brother Kim Jong-chol
news
News
Manchester city skyline as seen from Oldham above the streets of terraced houses in North West England on 7 April 2015.
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?