FIVE men arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences outside the Sellafield nuclear site have today been released without charge following more 24 hours of police investigations and questioning.
The group walked free from a Greater Manchester police station after anti-terror officers finished an extensive interviewing process to try to piece together why the east Londoners were in a car next to West Cumbria’s plutonium processing site, just after 4.30pm on Bank Holiday Monday.
Four of the men’s homes were searched yesterday by forensic investigators, who had seized several items from the properties for closer inspection.
News sources reported that the five, who were arrested within five kilometres of the plant, were Bangladeshi and has allegedly attracted police attention after being witnessed taking photographs of the site.
Sources also said the men had told police they were misdirected by their car's satnav system, after they were spotted more than 250 miles from home.
Counter terrorism officers initially detained the London group, under section 41 of the Terrorism Act after a routine vehicle check close to the west Cumbria facility, leading many to falsely speculate that the five were attempting a large scale attack on the plutonium processing site.
The arrests took place just hours after the death of the al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was announced, although at the time Greater Manchester Police officers said they did not believe the incident was linked to recent events in Pakistan.
They added that the arrests were not intelligence-led and, instead, were part of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary's scheduled vehicle checks.
These take place as part of Sellafield's security programme.