Five British men of Bangladeshi origin were being questioned under anti-terrorism laws yesterday after they were arrested while taking photographs close to the perimeter fence of the Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria.
The men, from east London and all in their twenties, were detained by officers from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) on Monday afternoon after they were stopped in a car on the edge of the nuclear reprocessing plant.
They are being held under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act, which allows the detention without charge for at least 48 hours of anyone whom a police officer "reasonably suspects" to be a terrorist.
Police in Manchester, where detectives from the North West Counter-Terrorism Unit are interviewing the men, said they were unaware of any links between the arrests and recent events in Pakistan.
It is understood that the men were detained after taking photographs next to the Sellafield site, although police sources confirmed there was no suspicion of an imminent attack.
A counter-terrorism source said: "There were suspicions from the CNC that led to some arrests. There were some suspicions about them near to the perimeter fence. The officers felt there was enough to arrest them. It's a case of seeing if there is anything to it."
Scotland Yard confirmed that searches were being carried out at four east London addresses linked to the men, following a request from Greater Manchester Police.