Police confirm RAF Mildenhall incident is not terrorist-related
US military personnel opened fire on a suspect who allegedly tried to break into the highly secure RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk by driving through the gates in an incident which police have tonight confirmed is not terrorist-related.
The base was put on lockdown for around two hours during the “security incident” which is not being treated as a terrorist attack.
According to reports, a driver attempted to force his way through an entry point at the main gate to the base, primarily used by the US air force.
Full details of the incident have not been released but authorities confirmed that guards opened fire before the suspect was seized, held, and later arrested.
Tonight, Suffolk Constabulary confirmed that a 44-year-old British man has been initially arrested on suspicion of criminal trespass.
The man, who sustained cuts and bruises in the incident, was taken into custody.
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A Suffolk Constabulary spokesman said: “Police investigating an incident at RAF Mildenhall can confirm that the incident is not being teated as terrorism.
“Police are not looking for anyone else on the site in relation to the incident.
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“There is no wider threat to the public or occupants on the base and no other people have been injured as a result of the incident.
“The incident remains a police investigation at this time and enquiries are ongoing and police are receiving support from other law enforcement agencies.”
In November last year the then Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said RAF Mildenhall was one of 56 Ministry of Defence sites earmarked for closure.
The base, which is due to shut in 2024, is home to the US Air Force’s 100th Air Refuelling Wing and 352nd Special Operations Wing.
In a statement issued by Suffolk police, a US Air Force spokesman said: “We’ve concluded our combined response to this incident and we are continuing to support local authorities in the ongoing investigation.”
A Pentagon spokesman in Washington said: “The security incident has been contained and a suspect has been apprehended.”
The lockdown ended at around 3.30pm, just under two hours after the incident began.
A statement on the base’s Facebook page said: “Lockdown has terminated on base and operations are returning to normal.
“We’ve concluded our combined US-UK response to this incident and we are continuing to support local authorities in the ongoing investigation.”
A member of staff at Jumppin Jacks Funhouse in Mildenhall earlier told the Press Association: “All the American children playing here suddenly left, but we didn’t hear anything or know why.”
The base has previously been identified as a potential target for terrorists.
In May 2016, Junead Khan was given a life sentence at Kingston Crown Court for planning a strike against American military personnel in Britain.
Khan, of Luton, used his job as a delivery driver to scout bases including Mildenhall and nearby RAF Lakenheath the previous year.
No other police forces are thought to be involved in the incident at this stage.