Two arrested under Terrorism Act

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The Independent Online

Two men have been arrested under the Terrorism Act 2006, after the discovery of a suspicious substance in a flat, police said today.

Officers from Avon and Somerset Police arrested the two men, one of Afghan origin, on Wednesday evening after searching premises in the Easton area of Bristol.

Police said that during the search a substance was found that led them to believe there may be a potential link to terrorist activity.

Police arrested a man in the Castle Park area of central Bristol at about 10pm on Wednesday evening on suspicion of drug related offences.

Following the arrest police searched a flat in Stapleton Road in the Easton area of the city.

During that search officers found a suspicious substance, a spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said.

Following the search police arrested second man.

Both men, who have not been identified, are currently being questioned at undisclosed police stations in the Avon and Somerset area.

A police spokesman said: "Our top priority is public safety and while this incident does not involve a specific threat to anybody, police are undertaking an extensive investigation."

The Easton area, which lies several miles to the north of central Bristol, is home to a large Muslim population.

Police said they had been speaking to community leaders in the area to offer reassurance and information.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Mortimore said: "This investigation is in its very early stages and we hope to clarify the situation at the earliest possible opportunity.

"Our message to the public for some time now has been that while we don't want people to be unduly afraid, everyone should be aware of the potential risks and be vigilant.

"The police activity is strong reassurance to our communities that Avon and Somerset Police will swiftly and effectively act upon any potential risk to public safety.

"We always endeavour to keep disruption to local people to a minimum and we appreciate the community's co-operation.

"Since this situation developed on Wednesday night, we have actively engaged with the local community, and I am delighted with the positive response and support we have received from local people.

"I would like to thank the community for that continued support."

Abdul Malik, Liberal Democrat councillor for Easton, said the news of the arrests had been a shock to the Muslim community in the city.

He said: "At the moment it is very new to us. We were only told about the arrests yesterday.

"We are not sure if it is associated with any event nationally or internationally.

"Of course we condemn any terrorist activity and we are hoping that this is nothing serious.

"We hope this will not undermine the wonderful relationship we have with all communities in Bristol."