In the Media

Two men arrested in Cheltenham over terror offences

PUBLISHED May 12, 2012

Residents around the garage in Buttermere close in Cheltenham were still unable to return to their homes after the discovery of suspicious items.

Officers had raided two properties in Cheltenham on Friday arresting a 52-year-old man under the Explosive Substance Act. A 31-year-old man was subsequently arrested after police found items "requiring further investigation" in the garage.

A 600 feet cordon was put up around the garage and the surrounding houses were evacuated as a precaution while four controlled explosions were carried bout by bomb disposal teams. Residents were still unable to return home on Saturday evening.

A rest centre has since been set up for residents evacuated from their homes in St Margaret's Hall for those needing support.

There, care staff from NHS Gloucestershire will be on duty to provide information and advice on medication and health concerns.

In the meantime, the force's Assistant Chief Constable Richard Berry said he was grateful to local people for their support and patience during a "thorough and methodical" investigation.

"At the moment we unfortunately are not able to say when we will be able to lift the cordon (in Buttermere Close)," he added.

"It remains in place for the public's safety and we have seen that it is justified by the results of the search thus far.

"However we will endeavour to return the area to normality as soon as practicable when we can ensure there is no risk of harm to local residents."

A spokesman for the police added: "The two men arrested in Cheltenham yesterday, have both been further arrested on suspicion of the commission, instigation or preparation of a terrorist act (contrary to the Terrorism Act 2000).

"This relates to examination of the items found in a garage in Buttermere Close in the Up Hatherley area of Cheltenham.

"The South East Counter Terrorism Unit has assumed responsibility for the ongoing investigation but will continue to work closely with Gloucestershire Police.

"The 52-year-old man and 31-year-old-man are both from Cheltenham. They remain in police custody at this time."