Lancashire Telegraph : Guests at Clitheroe B&B speak of terror swoop shock

Friday, April 10, 2009

Guests at Clitheroe B&B speak of terror swoop shock

By Sally Henfield | April 10, 2009

A GUEST at the B&B swooped on by anti-terror police has told of his shock.

John Davey, 57, and his wife Daphne, 62, were in Clitheroe for a friend’s funeral and had booked into the Brooklyn Guest House, Pimlico Road, for two nights.

But they had to move to a hotel in Blackburn after police vans, a helicopter and a search team descended on the ivy-clad Victorian town house, where two men suspected of having links to al Qaida had been staying.

The suspects, who were not from East Lancashire, had been staying at the B&B while they worked as security guards at the Clitheroe Homebase.

Scores of police swooped on the DIY store on Wednesday to arrest the men.

Another ten suspects were arrested in simultaneous raids in Manchester and Liverpool.

Mr Davey, from Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, and his wife had been out when police arrived at the B&B to conduct searches, which were still going on yesterday.

He said: “We had already spent one night at the bed and breakfast and it had been perfectly lovely.

“The staff had been very helpful.

“We had seen one man, who looked like he may have been of Pakistani origin, sitting in the restaurant for breakfast watching the news on Wednesday morning.

“He didn't say anything to us but he did seem to indicate to the landlady that it would be his last night there."

The couple had been for a Chinese meal in the town on Wednesday evening and returned to the bed and breakfast at around 8.45pm.

Mr Davey said: "We knew there had been some sort of major incident in Clitheroe because of the number of police vans in the area but we had no idea that it was connected to where we were staying.

"We were greeted at the door by two policemen, who were absolutely charming and courteous.

“We were told that something was going on and we would not be able to stay.

“We were then given permission to go to our room and get our things, escorted by an officer, and then we followed the police to a hotel on the A59."

He added: "It was only when we got to the hotel and saw the news that we discovered what had gone on.

"We weren't told anything by the police but, to be honest, I don't think many of the officers at the scene would have known what had been happening because it was quite high level stuff.

"There had been no indication of what may or may not have been going on at the bed and breakfast.

"It didn't spoil our stay - and in fact we are returning to Clitheroe soon and hope to stay at Brooklyn Guest House again."