Homes evacuated after man, 25, held by counter-terror cops over 'explosives offences'

HOMES have been evacuated in a Hampshire town after a man was arrested on suspicion of explosives offences.

Counter-terror police have held a 25-year-old man on suspicion of making or possession of explosives under suspicious circumstances in a Basingstoke home.

He was also arrested on suspicion of possession of a firearm without a certificate and on suspicion of possessing class A drugs, and remains in custody.

Counter-Terrorism Policing South East is leading the investigation and a property in Penny Black Lane, Basingstoke, is still being searched.

Hampshire Police said a number of neighbouring properties have been evacuated while the search takes place.

Tens of police officers and a bomb disposal unit were spotted in the area.

One resident told The Basingstoke Gazette how she saw everything unfold from her window.

She said: "CID have been there since 11 o'clock this morning. I was walking the dog and they had their vests on and I thought that was a bit odd.

"I thought it was a drugs raid or something. I came back out and there was bomb disposal there.

"I have got a great view so I have been looking through the window. At around 2.45 they taped it off. It is really worrying. "

Chief Inspector Matthew Reeves, district commander for Basingstoke and Deane, said there would be an increased police presence in the area and appealed for calm in the community.

He said: "I understand that this is a worrying time in the local community, thankfully incidents of this nature are relatively rare.

"We are assisting our colleagues at Counter Terrorism Policing South East and our partner agencies to address any concerns you may have.

"You may notice an increased police presence, please don't be alarmed, officers are involved in the investigation and are there to assist and support.

"Please approach these officers if you have any concerns or questions."

He added: "This is an active investigation so please refrain from speculation, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the community for their support so far with this investigation."

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