Foster care home raided over bomb
Two men arrested, focus on CCTV as threat level raised to critical
Armed police raided the home of two respected foster carers in their hunt for the bomb factory used by the Parsons Green bomber yesterday, just hours after arresting an 18-year-old man close to the port of Dover.
A second man, aged 21, was later arrested in Hounslow, west London.
The developments came a day after commuters fled in terror after a homemade bomb partially detonated on a District Line train, injuring 29 people. Kent police detained the teenager close to the port of Dover on suspicion of being a terrorist, describing it as a “significant arrest”.
Police officers were later seen searching bins close to Dover Priory railway station a few minutes’ walk from the port. The suspect was moved to a south London police station.
The arrest location, close to the busiest ferry hub in Europe, raises the prospect the suspect could have been trying to leave the country. Five hours later armed police arrived at an address in Sunbury on Thames, southwest London, and began evacuating residents from surrounding homes.
The elderly owners of the Cavendish Rd property, Penelope and Ronald Jones, are a foster couple who have taken in hundreds of young people since 1970, including refugees from several countries. In 2009, the couple were appointed MBEs for services to children and families. The honour was presented to them by the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
Penelope Jones, 71, and her husband, 88, said at the time: “We open our hearts to all the children. Anybody that comes to us we will do whatever we can to help them with whatever they need.” Their home is 17km from Parsons Green and on the rail line to Wimbledon, on the District Line.
A neighbour said: “Three months ago they fostered a lad from Somalia. My mate said he’s 16, but I’d say he was older than 18 what they are reporting. He’s been nothing but problems for them — he kept running away and stuff.” Another neighbour said: “I am so worried about Ron and Penny, they are a lovely couple.”
The bomb reportedly contained the explosive triacetone triperoxide (TATP) and nails, but is thought to have only partially detonated from inside a bucket. There were fears the number of those hurt could have been much higher had the bomb fully exploded.
The train, which was bound for Edgware Rd, was just pulling into the station in southwest London when the device detonated in the rear carriage.
Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, speaking after a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergency committee, said: “There is no doubt that this was a serious IED, it was good fortune that it did so little damage in fact.”
Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said police were “chasing down suspects”, indicating a potential network of plotters.
The Met said it had spoken to 45 witnesses and 77 images and videos had been sent to detectives by members of the public. A key plank of the investigation has focused on CCTV. Troops have been sent to key sites across Britain to free up armed police officers after the country’s terror threat level was raised to its highest point. The level is at critical, which means a further attack is feared to be imminent.
Police at a home in Sunbury on Thames.