Crawley: Man Arrested Under Terror Threat

7 January 2015, 14:31 | Updated: 7 January 2015, 14:57

A 41 year old man's been arrested in Crawley on suspicion of terrorism offences.

Police have said the arrest is not linked to any immediate threat in the UK but is part of an ongoing investigation into conflict overseas.

Officers from the South East Counter Terrorism Unit (SECTU) and Sussex Police arrested the man in Crawley, and a residential address is being searched.

A spokesman for SECTU said:

"We are committed to intervening in activities such as this which cause concern to local communities and we will continue to work with our partners and local communities in order to protect them from individuals and organisations which may seek to exploit them for extremist purposes.''

Local residents are being asked to contact police if they have any concerns regarding extremist activity in the area.

Chief Inspector Justina Beeken, Crawley District commander, said:

"Anyone from the local community who has any concerns or has any information about anyone engaging in the radicalisation of others or the spread of extremism is urged to contact police on the 101 number or the Anti-Terrorist Hotline 0800 789 321; all calls will be treated with the strictest confidence.''

Crawley MP Henry Smith said police informed him early this morning that a 40-year-old man had been arrested at a property which is believed to be in the Langley Green area of the town.

He said:

"I understand he has been arrested in relation to membership of organisations which are connected with activity to the Syrian civil war.''

Mr Smith said he understood people would be concerned over news of the arrest, particularly following the death of Abdul Waheed Majeed, from Crawley, who died in a suspected suicide attack in Syria in February last year.

The 41-year-old, who was born and raised in Crawley, is believed to have driven a lorry to a jail in Aleppo, before detonating a bomb.

The father of three had left Britain in 2013 telling his family he was going on a humanitarian mission to Syria.

Neighbours of Majeed expressed shock at his alleged involvement as counter-terrorism teams searched his two-storey, end-of-terrace property in Martyrs Avenue following the attack.

Mr Smith said:

"I think the important thing is to view this in perspective. The vast majority of the Muslim community want to quietly get on with their lives.

These cases are in the minority but they are very concerning and the public need to feel that they are as protected as they can be.''

Arif Syed, Crawley community leader, said he believed the arrest was an isolated incident but called it "sad'' for Crawley.

Mr Syed said he did not know whether the man arrested was an attendee at the Crawley mosque.

He said: "I am hoping to have more information confirmed either later on tonight or tomorrow morning. It is a sad thing that this keeps coming back. Crawley is a lovely town.''