Shots fired at man who tried to ‘break into’ English air force base
Mildenhall site in Suffolk, which is used by US military, briefly put on lockdown today
A file image of the entrance to American Air Force Base RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk. Photograph: Chris Radburn/PA Wire.
A file photograph of a US Hurricane transport plane leaving RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk, England. Photograph: Stephen Hird/Reuters.
US military personnel opened fire on a man as he allegedly attempted to break into an RAF base in Suffolk, England. The man was arrested, having suffered only cuts and bruises, police said.
RAF Mildenhall was put on lockdown after a “security incident”, a spokesman for the British Ministry of Defence said. The RAF base is primarily used by the US air force.
The incident is understood to have involved an individual attempting to drive through an entry point at the base.
Police described the incident as “significant” and urged members of the public to avoid the area near the base.
“Suffolk police were contacted at approximately 1.40pm today to reports of a disturbance at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk. The base was put into lockdown and units responded immediately,” they said in a statement.
“Shots were fired by American service personnel and a man has been detained with cuts and bruises and taken into custody. No other people have been injured as a result of the incident.”
A message on the RAF Mildenhall Facebook page said the base was put on lockdown at 1pm and emergency personnel were called to deal with the situation. About three hours later it was confirmed that the lockdown state had been lifted.
A Pentagon spokesman in Washington said: “The security incident has been contained and a suspect has been apprehended.”
The base has been used by the US military since 1950. Washington was concerned the Soviet Union might think the US “too occupied with the Korean conflict to adequately protect Europe” at the time and placed forces there to counter any threat, according to an official US history of the base.
Several US units are based there permanently, including the 100th Air Refuelling Wing and a branch of its special operations command.
Mildenhall has been earmarked for closure in 2022 after the Pentagon decided to scale down its European military presence.
The Ministry of Defence plans to sell the site, along with 11 others, as part of a plan to generate £500million from the release of military bases and create room for 15,000 new homes. -Guardian