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Wyverstone: Suffolk Constabulary call in Met Police and MoD over ‘significant’ Suffolk arms haul

PUBLISHED: 06:00 25 April 2014 | UPDATED: 09:13 25 April 2014

The large scale police presence in Potash Road, Wyverstone.

The large scale police presence in Potash Road, Wyverstone.

The full extent of a large-scale police operation following the discovery of automatic weapons in a Suffolk village can be revealed today.

A search of a cottage and four acres of land in Potash Lane, Wyverstone, has yielded “a significant number of weapons”, according to Suffolk Constabulary.

It has now emerged:

N Officers from the Metropolitan Police and Ministry of Defence have also been called in as part of the inquiry.

N Police will resume their search this morning for the 13th consecutive day

N The search could continue for up to two weeks

N Further controlled explosions may need to be carried out following previous detonations.

N Around 50 officers are involved in the inquiry

N Reassurance patrols for residents will continue in the village.

The village’s parish council chairman James Arnold was charged with four counts of possession of a prohibited weapon and two alleged assaults.

The weapons charges relate to an Uzi machine gun, AK47 assault rifle, a bolt-action shotgun and a self-loading rifled gun.

The 49-year-old was arrested in the village after officers went to his home in Potash Road on April 13.

Officers have been searching the area around his cottage since then.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk Constabulary said: “Police are continuing with searches at an address in Wyverstone following the discovery of weapons at the address.

“Initially police were contacted over an allegation of assault at a property in Potash Road, Wyverstone on March 27.

“Police attended the address and a 49-year-old man from the Stowmarket area was arrested on suspicion of assault.

“As part of the investigation, police carried out a search warrant at the property and discovered a number of weapons.

“Specialist search teams from Suffolk Police, with the assistance of officers from the Metropolitan Police are continuing with their searches today of the property, outbuildings and land.

“It is anticipated that due to the number of outbuildings and area of land to be searched, officers could be at the scene for a further week to a fortnight and a cordon will remain in place during this time.

“A significant number of weapons have been recovered so far. The Bomb Disposal Squad has also been in attendance and have carried out a number of controlled explosions as a precautionary measure.

“As searches continue, again as a precautionary measure, there may be the necessity to carry out further small controlled explosions to make items safe. The public will be notified if and when these take place.

“Around 50 officers are currently working on the investigation, including Safer Neighbourhood Team officers carrying out reassurance patrols and visits, officers on the cordon for scene preservation and search teams.

“This is a Suffolk Constabulary investigation being led by a Senior Investigating Officer from the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Protective Services Command and due to the nature of the weapons being recovered advice and assistance is also being sought from others with expertise in this area, such as the Ministry of Defence Police.

“Residents are being reassured that they are not at risk and have been visited and will continue to be updated on the latest situation through visits and leaflet drops where necessary, and they are being thanked for their support, patience and understanding.

Anyone with any issues, concerns or information should contact Suffolk Police on 101 (non-emergency number).

“Proceedings are now active in this case. It is very important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings and prevent a fair trial from going ahead.”

Arnold is due to appear before Bury St Edmunds magistrates on Monday on the assault charges.

He is due before Ipswich Crown Court next Thursday on the weapons charges.

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