Men questioned over suspected threat to Sellafield released


FIVE BANGLADESHI men arrested near the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant on Monday have been released, after police accepted their explanation they had got lost because their car satellite navigation system had malfunctioned.

The five men, in their early 20s and from Romford in Essex, were arrested on Monday afternoon by the Civil Nuclear Constabulary – the police responsible for nuclear stations’ safety – after one officer believed they were filming Sellafield’s grounds. They were taken to Carlisle and questioned there by counter-terrorist officers, before they were transferred to London.

Their homes were later searched. However, they were released without charge last evening.

The men told police they were travelling along the road just 100m (330ft) from Sellafield because their in-car satellite navigation system had taken them the wrong way as they travelled up the Cumbrian coast, close to the Lake District.

Sellafield’s main gate was locked immediately, with an armed police roadblock placed in front. However, it reopened late Tuesday afternoon: “The site’s main gate is now open as normal,” said a Sellafield spokeswoman.

Local resident David Moore, who chairs the Sellafield Stakeholders Group which keeps up contacts between residents, Sellafield and the police, said locals had been reassured, even if the men were subsequently released.

The Civil Nuclear Constabulary operate patrols for 5km (three miles) around Sellafield: “Seeing armed police in the area can seem to some people to be a bit over the top but all that training has come to fruition and I think that is reassuring to local people,” said Mr Moore.

Sellafield GMB union official Peter Kane, who represents 2,500 Sellafield workers, said they had been briefed: “I think they have got a bit more security conscious since Bin Laden over the weekend, that is my opinion.”

The performance of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary is currently being reviewed by the UK’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, following an incident last December when military special forces posed as terrorists, raising concerns about security.