No further action by counter terrorist police over men held over Stansted alert
PUBLISHED: 12:59 31 August 2020 | UPDATED: 14:15 31 August 2020
Two men, arrested by counter-terrorism police after a security alert at Stansted Airport that saw Royal Air Force Typhoon jets scrambled to escort a Ryanair flight, have been released.
A 34-year-old man from Kuwait and a 48-year-old man from Italy were detained by officers from the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) soon after 7pm on Sunday after the captain raised the alarm about a mobile phone found in the toilet.
The Typhoons from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire were sent to escort the Ryanair flight from Vienna to Stansted and the men were arrested after it landed.
A spokesman for the ERSOU said the 48-year-old man had been released but the 34-year-old was now being questioned by the Border Force.
“Officers investigating reports of a suspicious device on a flight landing at London Stansted Airport yesterday have concluded their enquiries,” the spokesman said.
“Following reports of a suspicious device in the bathroom of a plane arriving from Vienna, Austria, shortly after 7pm, Counter Terrorism Policing officers from the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) detained two men under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act (2000).
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“After examination by specialist investigators, the object was found not to be of concern. Officers spoke with the two men and neither were considered to have committed any offences.”
Detective Superintendent Andy Waldie, head of ERSOU’s Counter Terrorism Policing unit, added: “We understandably take any reports of suspicious objects or behaviour on flights very seriously and thankfully on this occasion there was no cause for concern.
“I’d like to thank those on the flight for their cooperation and understanding while officers conducted their enquiries.”
A spokesman for Ryanair said the captain had followed standard protocol in raising the alarm after being made aware of potentially suspicious activity on board.
The spokesman said: “In line with procedures, the captain informed UK authorities and continued to London Stansted, where the aircraft landed normally and taxied to a remote stand where passengers disembarked safely.
“Passengers in London Stansted waiting to depart to Vienna were transferred to a spare aircraft to minimise the delay to their flight.”
The RAF confirmed that Typhoon fighters from RAF Coningsby were launched to “intercept a civilian aircraft. The aircraft was escorted safely to Stansted.”
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