Two Greater Manchester teenagers arrested on suspicion of terrorism

Unnamed 16-year-olds held by police in Mossley

A 16-year-old boy and girl have been arrested by counter-terrorism police on suspicion of a terror charge.

The teenagers, both college students who have not been identified, were arrested on Monday at separate addresses in Mossley, Tameside, by the North West Counter Terrorism Unit after intelligence was received about items bought over the internet.

A Greater Manchester Police officer said the arrests were “in no way linked to any sort of international terrorist plot.”

In a separate operation, a 29-year-old man was arrested in Stoke-on-Trent for online posts allegedly referring to Islamic State. West Midlands Police said it was a preplanned and intelligence-led operation not connected to police activity in Manchester.

The teenagers, who are of white British heritage, have been arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism and both remain in police custody.

Searches are being carried out at two addresses in Hanover Street, where the boy is thought to live, and Spring Mill Drive, where the arrested girl lives, and police said they will continue for some time. Neighbours said they came from “normal” and “pleasant” families.

Chief Superintendent Caroline Ball said the news of the arrests “will cause a certain amount of anxiety” in the community and “people will understandably have questions”.

She said: “What I want to stress very clearly is that this investigation is in no way linked to any sort of international terrorist plot, nor have we recovered any evidence to suggest the community of Mossley is at risk.”

The investigation had arisen as a result of information from law enforcement agencies and she said it was “prudent” that they act on the information and carry out a thorough, professional investigation to determine the circumstances and detail of the activity reported.

The teenagers are not related each other and they are not believed to have any connection to any organised terror group. 

Police were wearing protective chemical suits as they carried out searches and two police vans were parked near the property in Hanover Street.