Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Isis-inspired terror plot 'foiled' by armed police raid in Newcastle

Judge grants police extra time to question suspect as searches continue at home in West End 

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Wednesday 12 December 2018 19:24 GMT
Dozens of armed police were deployed on the operation
Dozens of armed police were deployed on the operation (PA)

A suspected Isis-inspired terror plot has been foiled following an armed police raid in Newcastle.

A 33-year-old man was arrested in the operation, which involved dozens of officers and saw part of the city’s West End cordoned off.

Houses surrounding the suspect’s home were evacuated as a precaution over fears it contained explosives.

Resident Valerie Lewis told the Newcastle Chronicle she was expecting a friend when she heard a knock on the door on Tuesday morning, adding: “I could see dark clothing and opened it up and there was a policeman with a machine gun telling me to get out.”

Heavily armed counter-terrorist specialist firearms officers (CTSFOs), who are trained to launch from helicopters and use explosives, were among the units deployed for the raid.

Police remain on the scene in Arthur’s Hill and are conducting searches as the investigation continues.

Officers were granted more time to question the arrested man by a judge on Wednesday, and will be able to hold him until 18 December.

He was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism under section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

Although the operation came weeks before Christmas, the timing of the alleged plot and its precise target remain unclear.

In the wake of the shooting attack on a Christmas market in Strasbourg on Tuesday night, Counterterror Policing UK urged the public to remain vigilant.

“There is no intelligence to suggest specific threats to Christmas markets, events or locations in the UK,” a spokesperson added.

The number of live terror investigations in the UK has hit a record of 700 and is expected to rise.

The head of national counterterror policing warned that Isis supporters and the far right were “feeding each other” in October.

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said around 80 per cent of investigations by police and MI5 were looking into Islamist jihadis and 20 per cent “other”, including a “significant proportion from the right wing”.

“The overriding threat to the UK remains from those inspired by Isis and the resurgent al-Qaeda, but our operations reflect a much broader range of dangerous ideologies, including very disturbingly rising extreme right-wing activity,” he added.

Mr Basu said the UK’s counterterror capability was running “red-hot” because of the increase in plots, the majority of which come from UK nationals or dual British citizens.

Before the Newcastle operation, police said 13 Islamist and four extreme right-wing plots had been foiled since the Westminster attack in March 2017.

The number of terror arrests in the UK fell by 31 per cent in the year to September, from 462 to 317, and the Home Office said the drop was caused by a rise in the wake of last year’s attacks in London and Manchester.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in