Police have been given extra time to question two Newcastle University students, both aged 18. One was arrested in central London under the Terrorism Act; the other was arrested in the North East under the Explosives Act.
Northumbria Police Assistant Chief Constable Jo Farrell gave this update to the media, which we are publishing in full:
**The Counter Terrorism Unit are now leading on the investigation. To ensure you have a full understanding of the activity over the last few days I would like to outline the steps we have taken and provide reassurance.
Shortly after 10am on Tuesday, June 10, 2014, Northumbria Police were contacted by staff from Newcastle University outlining concern in relation a student. This concern was in relation to a change in the behaviour of the student and the belief he was carrying a knife.
A University Neighbourhood Police officer attended and met with staff and as a result of that meeting the officer and staff attended a bedroom in the halls of residence.
A number of items were seen in the bedroom which gave cause for concern and we implemented our well established response plans which included an evacuation of the building and implementation of safety cordons.
In line with nationally agreed protocols Counter Terrorism Officers attended the scene and as a result of their initial assessment a military Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit attended the scene. Following a detailed assessment the items were identified as being explosives, they were removed by the military and a controlled explosion carried out at Exhibition Park.
As a result of enquiries two men were arrested, one in Central London and one in Newcastle, both men are 18.
The man arrested in Central London was arrested under the Terrorism Act.
The man arrested in Northumbria was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit GBH and subsequently for explosive offences.
Both remain in custody at this time, one at a police station in London, the other at a police station in Northumbria.
Detailed and lengthy searches commenced at three locations within the university which led to the discovery of some further items which gave cause for concern. As a result the building was evacuated in the early hours of this morning, Thursday, June 12, which led to 80 students being rehoused in alternative student accommodation. Safety cordons were also put in place.
The items concerned have now been declared safe and the building re-opened.
At all times the safety of students, staff and the public has been our priority.
I would like to thank the students and university staff for their patience and assistance during the past three days.
We will continue to work closely with colleagues from the North East Counter Terrorism Unit to ensure all available evidence is secured. I would like to reassure the public that this type of incident is very rare and as has been seen we are able to deal with them professionally and effectively.
Our officers will be active throughout the force area engaging with the public to ensure information is shared and I would like to urge anyone with concerns to contact the police.
Our priority in Northumbria Police is to protect the public from harm and to take all necessary steps to achieve this.
*We have a good relationship with Newcastle University and this incident has shown just how effective our partnership work is in safeguarding students, staff and the wider community. *