Sheffield man arrested in raid after explosives theft

Police at Hadfield Close, Darnall, where a man was arrested by counter terror officers
Police at Hadfield Close, Darnall, where a man was arrested by counter terror officers

ANTI-TERROR police swooped on a house in Sheffield and arrested a man after the theft of explosives from a freight train in Cheshire.

Officers from the North East Counter Terrorism Unit made the arrest at a house in Hadfield Close, Darnall, late on Sunday.

Residents in the quiet cul-de-sac yesterday spoke of their shock as South Yorkshire Police officers kept a semi-detached house under surveillance.

Dean Ahmed, aged 29, whose ex-partner and children live in the street, said: “Everyone is really surprised. It’s a quiet cul de sac and there’s never any trouble. A man lives there with his partner and three or four children. They have been here about eight months.

“It’s a scary thing to have this on your doorstep.”

A resident who didn’t want to be named said: “Everybody has been wondering what’s going on. The police haven’t told us anything.”

Nicola Airstone, 24, who has lived in the street for two years with her two children, said: “It’s normally quiet and peaceful. Everybody keeps themselves to themselves but the kids play out and people say hello to each other.

“My dad lives next door but one and he told me the police came at 11pm. They were just parked up watching and then they came back and 2am and have been there ever since. It’s the last thing you would expect.”

Yesterday police were in a van opposite the house. Officers were also sitting outside business premises on Petre Street in Pitsmoor.

Bob Neil from Arms Park Developments Limited opposite said: “The police have been sitting there since about 6.15am this morning.”

A North West Counter Terrorism Unit spokesman said officers had also searched an address in Bailey Drive, Killamarsh.

Ten packages, containing what are thought to be anti-tank mines used by British troops in Afghanistan, are believed to have been stolen when a train stopped in Warrington, Cheshire, last week. All the munitions have been safely recovered.

The North West Counter Terrorism Unit, leading the investigation, said: “A 29-year-old man was arrested in Birkenhead by the North West Counter Terrorism Unit, and a 31-year-old man was held in Sheffield by officers.

“Both suspects remain in custody for questioning.” The spokesman added it is not believed the theft was terror-related.

The MoD-owned munitions were on a train when it left Longtown in Cumbria about 11.30am last Wednesday. Ten packages, each containing four separate plastic cases, were initially reported stolen to British Transport Police, shortly after 7.30am on Thursday when the train arrived at Didcot, Oxfordshire.

Seven packages were found near a railway line in Warrington.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: “The three outstanding packages, which are made up of a total of 12 plastic cases, were safely recovered by specially trained explosive ordnance disposal officers from an address in Birkenhead.

“A number of addresses in Birkenhead and Sheffield are being searched.

“This co-ordinated investigation, which remains ongoing, also includes the Metropolitan Police Service, British Transport Police and MoD.”

Anyone with information should call police on 0161 856 1027 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.