West Midlands police arrest seven men after weapons are found in a car. The operation follows the detention of six Londoners and a terror alert on the M6.
West Midlands police on Friday said they had arrested seven men under the Terrorism Act 2000 after a week-long investigation that started with a routine car stop on 30 June.
Six of the men, all in their 20s, are from the West Midlands. A 43-year-old man from Kirklees, West Yorkshire, was also arrested, police said in a statement. The men are suspected of commissioning, preparing or instigating unspecified terrorism acts.
Police stopped a car on the M1 motorway in South Yorkshire and impounded it on suspicion of having no insurance. Firearms and other weapons were later found hidden inside, prompting police to arrest the driver, passenger and other suspects.
“As soon as the items were discovered in the impounded vehicle, our priority was to protect the public by pursuing and arresting those we believed to be involved,” Detective Chief Superintendent Kenny Bell said.
A West Midlands police spokesman could not be immediately contacted by Channel 4 News today. It was unclear whether the West Midlands arrests were connected to the arrest of six terror suspects in London on Thursday and a terror alert on a bus the shut parts of the M6 motorway for hours.
West Midlands police said the weapons and other items found during the car stop were undergoing forensic analysis on Friday. Searches were under way at the addresses of those in custody. West Midlands counter-terrorism unit was leading the ongoing investigation. The suspects have not been named.
A warrant of further detention was granted for three of the men arrested – giving officers until 10 July to charge, release or apply for a further warrant. There is an initial 48 hours for the other suspects, after which officers will need to charge, release or apply for a warrant of further detention. The men, all being held in the West Midlands area, were described by police as a:
Detained Tuesday 3 July
26-year-old male from Sparkhill, Birmingham 27-year-old male from Sparkhill, Birmingham 23-year-old male from Sparkhill, Birmingham
Detained Wednesday 4 July
24-year-old male from Moseley, Birmingham 22-year-old male from Alum Rock, Birmingham 22-year-old male from Smethwick, Sandwell
Detained Thursday 5 July 5
43-year-old man from Kirklees, West Yorkshire
On Thursday, armed police evacuated about 50 passengers from a coach on the M6 motorway near Lichfield in the West Midlands following reports a man on the bus was seen pouring liquid into a smoking bag.
Separately, police arrested five men aged 18-29 and a woman in west and east London. Some of those arrested in London were understood to be British nationals.