BREAKING NEWS: Police find a ‘suspicious device’ during raid in Devon linked London Tube plot to blow up Jubilee Line to the which was foiled when passengers spotted ‘bag full of wires’
- Police cordoned off the street in Newton Abbot at around 2.30pm
- A suspicious device was found but it was confirmed as not being viable
- A teenager was arrested at 12.20pm on Friday on street in North London remains in police custody
- His arrest followed discovery of a ‘viable device’ on a train on Thursday
- It was detonated in a controlled explosion at North Greenwich, but it is not known how long it have been it had been on the train
- Passengers were evacuated from station near The O2 as alarms rang
- Did you witness the arrest? Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Counter-terrorism officers investigating a London Tube bomb plot have found a ‘suspicious device’ in Devon.
Police cordoned off Tudor Road in Newton Abbot just before 2.45pm this afternoon.
A 200-metre police cordon was put place, with residents only allowed to return to their homes at around 6pm, when officers from the Metropolitan Police’s SO15 terrorism unit have since confirmed that the device was not viable.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: ‘On Saturday, 22 October Metropolitan Police Service Counter Terrorism Command (SO15) officers attended an address in Newton Abbott, Devon as part of enquires into the suspicious item at North Greenwich Underground Station.
‘Whilst there, officers found an item they deemed suspicious.
‘Work has been carried out and it has now been confirmed the device is not viable.
‘Work continues with Devon and Cornwall Police at the scene.’
Football games at nearby Baker’s Park were abandoned to allow police helicopters to land on the pitch.
Phil Smith, 62, who was refereeing one of the games, said: ‘We were eight minutes into the match when suddenly a policeman appeared on the touchline and said “‘Sorry, you are going to have to stop playing and get out of the park – we want to land some helicopters on the football pitch”.
‘He said there was an incident but couldn’t say anything about it.
‘He proceeded to hustle us all off and then he went to the children’s play park and hustled all them out and was trying to get the car park clear as well.’
One resident who lives nearby said she was prevented from returning to her home by an officer who said a ‘bomb’ had been found.
Student Sioned Freed, 22, said: ‘I was on the way home from Sainsbury’s and a PCSO told me that I wasn’t allowed to go that way.
‘I explained that I lived there and asked what was happening.
‘She explained that it was a bomb and seemed surprised that I hadn’t been evacuated yet.
‘She let me back in to get the kids and I took them to my dad’s office. Now we’re just waiting for news on when we can go home.
‘I’ve heard that the bomb is on Tudor Road but not from the police. I’m not sure how many homes were evacuated.
‘I saw a few people leaving but a lot of people are still in their homes.’
A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall police said: ‘We can confirm that following initial investigations, the device found at Tudor Road, Newton Abbot, is not viable.
‘Therefore, the cordon will be lifted and residents from the evacuated properties will be allowed to return to their homes. We thank them for their patience and co-operation in this matter.
‘Devon and Cornwall Police will continue to support the Metropolitan Police with their investigation.
‘Further forensic searches will continue at the property in question. A police scene guard will remain in place whilst this work continues.’
Connor Bain, 22, who lives in one of the evacuated homes, said: ‘We came out at half one went to walk the dog and that’s when the police started taping up the road.
‘Hearing of a bomb nearby is a bit of a shock. We haven’t been told how long we will be evacuated for.
‘I don’t know who lives in the house.’
The Met confirmed that the raid was linked to a ‘viable device’ that was found on a London Underground train.
The package is believed to have been planted on Thursday by a suspected terrorist acting alone – and was placed on a carriage heading for landmarks including Westminster and The Shard.
The package – described as a bag with wires sticking out – was found on a Jubilee Line train.
A 19-year-old man arrested in Holloway Road on Friday in connection to the suspicious package remains in custody.
North Greenwich station was evacuated for more than seven hours, and bomb disposal experts carried out a controlled explosion.
Football games at nearby Baker’s Park were abandoned to allow police helicopters to land on the pitch.
A 19-year-old man arrested in north London yesterday afternoon remains in police custody today. The teenager was Tasered in the street as armed police swooped on the suspect, described as a white, bearded man.
The teenager was detained under the Terrorism Act 2000 after his arrest at 12.20pm in Holloway, and can be detained for up to 14 days without charge.
Police have confirmed they are not currently looking for anyone else in connection with the device.
And the Ministry Of Defence warned its staff in a memo that the culprit could have planted more devices, according to The Telegraph.
It said: ‘This increase is in response to the discovery of a suspected viable improvised explosive device (IED) on a London Underground train.
‘It is unknown who placed the device and what their motivation was. Therefore it remains possible that the perpetrator may attempt to place further devices. The threat level will continue to be reviewed as further information is received.’
It is not known where the person who planted the device got onto the tube and disembarked, but the device could have travelled several stops before it was found.
The train was bound for stops including London Bridge, Westminster, Green Park and Bond Street, which is close to Oxford Circus.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman was asked today if officers had any indication where the bomb was placed, but responded: ‘We won’t be releasing any further information as we have a suspect in custody.’
Police declined to comment on the possible motive, but a security source told The Times that there is a possibility the planned attack could have been a ‘copycat’ methodology and the motivation was not Islamist.
The suspect package has been described as a bag ‘full of wires’.
A statement from British Transport Police said: ‘Together with the Met we have been working tirelessly since the item was found to follow up all potential leads.
‘Officers are keeping an open mind regarding any possible motive. They are not looking for anyone else in relation to this investigation at this stage.’
Witnesses described how officers shouted ‘armed police, don’t struggle´ as they arrested the white, bearded man, who was wearing a hoodie, jacket, jeans and trainers in Holloway Road, close to the Emirates Stadium in North London.
Security has been ramped up on London’s public transport network since with more officers, including armed police, on patrol at travel hubs and high-visibility patrols.
On Thursday, passengers were evacuated from the station near The O2 Arena in East London as alarm bells rang and a huge section of the Jubilee line was suspended.
Shortly after 11am, travellers were told to leave the station which was closed for more than seven hours while the item was made safe underground.
Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s counter terrorism command launched a probe after the package was found by train staff on an eastbound service.
No trains were running between Stratford and Canary Wharf until about 3.15pm, while buses were also unable to call at the station for hours yesterday.
Officers used a Taser during the arrest on Holloway Road, but said no firearms were used.
Community support worker Margaret Mathurin was sat having a coffee when, at just past midday, the incident began to unfold.
The 54-year-old did not see the arrest, but added: ‘The police all lined up in their cars and vans, they gave their orders to each other.
‘They were plain-clothed police with masks, they had guns, everything. It was very unnerving.
‘It was quick and it just looked like they were giving orders to each other and they knew exactly where to be, where to stand. Everything looked pretty organised.’
The arrested man was white, bearded and wearing a hoodie, a witness said. Ali said the man had been walking along the street ‘normally’ when police descended.
‘The armed police, I think five of them, ran behind him and put him on the floor.’
Ali, 30, who did not want to give his full name, said he did not see the man Tasered, but that he did see the Taser on the floor.
‘He was struggling not to get arrested, for like a good five minutes. They were shouting ‘armed police, don’t struggle’. Everything happened so quick.’
He described the arrested man as in his early twenties, white, bearded, and that he was wearing a hoodie, a long jacket, jeans and trainers.
‘He did not look like he had had a shave for a long time,’ he added.
Ms Mathurin added: ‘They lined up with their guns and blocked the road. Nobody was allowed to go through but I was watching from Costa’s window.
‘I haven’t moved from this spot since. The whole thing was unfolding before me.
‘Although it was unnerving to see armed police on the streets of London I have to say it looked like they had control of the situation and knew what they were doing.
‘The arrest must have taken place under the bridge. I don’t normally come to this area so it’s a bit scary that on the day I decide to this happens.’
Emi Koizumi, 42, described the terrifying moment armed police swarmed the road as he walked to get lunch at a nearby Dirty Burger restaurant.
She said: ‘We saw loads of police, including armed and also plain clothed police with their faces covered.
‘The plain clothed police ran off down the street towards Highbury Corner right as we walked up. No one would tell us what was going on under the railway bridge.
Police said the suspicious item found at North Greenwich was ‘being forensically examined and we await the results of that examination’.
The Met added that officers from the force and British Transport Police ‘have been working tirelessly since the item was found to follow up all potential leads’.
Officers are keeping an open mind regarding any possible motive. They are not looking for anyone else in relation to this investigation at this stage.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: ‘Thanks to the outstanding professionalism of the Metropolitan Police, Transport for London staff and the British Transport Police, this situation was dealt with swiftly and safely, and no injuries resulted.
‘I have been in constant contact with the Metropolitan Police commissioner and the TfL commissioner throughout the past two days.
‘Keeping Londoners safe is my highest priority. I am urging all Londoners to check with TfL before they travel and to remain calm and vigilant at all times.’
A Met spokesman said: ‘Officers continue to encourage the public to remain vigilant and alert at all times and report anything suspicious to police.
‘The public will see more officers, including armed police, in and around transport hubs to provide reassurance around public safety.
‘High visibility patrols by BTP officers on the underground and at stations will remain in place today to reassure the travelling public as they start their weekend.
‘Anyone with any concerns should speak with officers who will be happy to help.’
Police urged anyone who saw anything suspicious on the train, or anywhere else, to call the anti-terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321.
The current threat level for international terrorism in the UK is severe – meaning an attack is ‘highly likely’.
Will Geddes, founder of private security firm International Corporate Protection, said the Tube network was ‘pretty safe’ and that the Jubilee line was the most modern.
He added: ‘There’s very extensive CCTV and security measures which will have expedited the process of identifying the suspect.
‘If they used an Oyster card it’s another identifier that links the suspect to the package.
‘In terms of the response by the authorities it couldn’t have been more efficient and effective, which provides reassurance to the general public in how capable and rehearsed our authorities and emergency services are in responding to these kind of events.’
Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association general secretary Manuel Cortes said: ‘Once again we are reminded of the real threats now posed to public transport passengers and, in this case, our Tube and station staff.
‘I have called for an urgent security summit with TfL London Underground, unions, British Transport Police, Scotland Yard and the City Hall.
‘In the light of yesterday’s all too real attack, the Chancellor Philip Hammond must immediately restore the cuts made last year by George Osborne to Transport for London’s operating subsidy which means TfL are trying to make £700 million of cuts by 2020.
‘Without reversing Osborne’s devastating cuts, it will simply not be possible for TfL managers or British Transport Police or my members to exercise the levels of vigilance now necessary to keep London open for business and our people and our passengers safe.’
North Greenwich station reopened on Thursday night and a performance at the O2 by the band Nickelback went ahead as planned.