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Met terrorist team arrests Lowestoft man found with grenades and chemicals

PUBLISHED: 16:12 29 July 2019 | UPDATED: 09:55 31 July 2019

The scene of the evacuation in Lowestoft. Photo: Mick Howes

The scene of the evacuation in Lowestoft. Photo: Mick Howes

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The discovery of military grenades and unidentified chemicals which caused the evacuation of dozens of Lowestoft homes is now being treated as a terrorism incident.

Police officers at a cordon on Normanshurst Close in Lowestoft on Monday, July 29. PHOTO: Reece HansonPolice officers at a cordon on Normanshurst Close in Lowestoft on Monday, July 29. PHOTO: Reece Hanson

The Met Police Counter Terrorism Command is now leading an investigation into the "suspicious items" found on Normanshurst Close after Suffolk Police carried out a pre-planned warrant shortly before 1pm on Sunday, July 28.

After searching the terraced property, officers recovered two military grenades, a firearm and unidentifiable chemicals.

While the grenades were assessed and found to be inert and the firearm believed to be an imitation, Counter Terrorism officers were called to assist the recovery of a quantity of chemicals.

A 59-year-old Suffolk man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of possessing a firearm. He has now been further arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism, a spokesperson for the Met Police confirmed.

The man has been detained and is currently in police custody in Suffolk.

Initially, 60 homes were evacuated on Sunday afternoon, with many families initially told to find alternative accommodation for the night, or go to the evacuation centre at Waterlane Leisure Centre.

Shortly before midnight, the 100 metre cordon was reduced to the searched property and the neighbouring three homes, which remain evacuated.

Detective chief superintendent Alexis Boon, of the Met Police Counter Terrorism Command, said: "After a pre-planned operation by Suffolk Constabulary in which officers arrested a man, the Met Police Counter Terrorism Command is now leading this investigation, working closely with police in Suffolk.

A reduced cordon remains in place on Normanshurst Close in Lowestoft on Monday, July 29. PHOTO: Reece HansonA reduced cordon remains in place on Normanshurst Close in Lowestoft on Monday, July 29. PHOTO: Reece Hanson

"Suffolk Constabulary acted quickly to make the area safe, including erecting a cordon around the address as a precautionary measure while enquiries are ongoing.

"However, we have found nothing to suggest an ongoing threat to the public.

"I would like to thank the community for its understanding and patience while officers continue this work.

"Local officers from Suffolk Constabulary's Safer Neighbourhood Teams will remain at the scene over the coming days to continue to provide reassurance."

Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal officers joined police and Suffolk Fire and Rescue teams at the scene.

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