RAF Mildenhall incident: Shots fired at US air base in Suffolk after car forces entry past checkpoint, police reveal

Facility placed on lockdown after 'significant incident'

Police outside RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk, after shots were fired by US service personnel and a suspect was arrested after a disturbance
Police outside RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk, after shots were fired by US service personnel and a suspect was arrested after a disturbance

US military personnel fired shots after a car forced its way through a checkpoint at the RAF Mildenhall US air base, police have revealed.

A 44-year-old British man has been arrested after the “significant incident” forced authorities to lock down the base, which is used only by the US Air Force, at 1pm on Monday.

The Independent understands that a single driver in a vehicle approached a checkpoint and forced his way inside.

American security personnel opened fire and the driver was taken into custody, before being handed to Suffolk Police for a civilian investigation.

He sustained only cuts and bruises, and was arrested on suspicion of criminal trespass. No one else was injured and the incident is not being treated as terrorism, police said.

Suffolk Police said: “Police are not looking for anyone else on the site in relation to the incident.”

A small contingent of British liaison officers are also stationed at the base, which is predominantly staffed by American forces.

A spokesman from the base’s public affairs office told The Independent the lockdown measures were lifted shortly after 2.30pm.

Suffolk Police tweeted that its officers were still at the 1,162-acre base, which houses about 3,100 members of the US military and an additional 3,000 family members.

In a statement issued by Suffolk Police, a US Air Force spokesman said: “We’ve concluded our combined response to this incident and we are continuing to support local authorities in the ongoing investigation.”

The base is currently home to the 100th Air Refueling Wing. Its KC135 tankers are used to refuel US and Nato aircraft in Europe.

RAF Mildenhall was previously among the American bases targeted by Isis supporter Junead Khan, who was jailed for preparing a terror attack in April 2016.

He had been communicating with Isis fighter Junaid Hussain, a British hacker later killed by a US drone strike, who incited him to attack military bases.

In online chats, the men cited the murder of Lee Rigby as inspiration after the soldier was mown down with a car and stabbed to death near Woolwich barracks in 2013.

In November last year the then-Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said RAF Mildenhall was one of 56 Ministry of Defence sites earmarked for closure. It is due to close in 2022.

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