Sun : Cop Gaffe Terror Suspects Set Free

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cop Gaffe Terror Suspects Set Free

By ANTHONY FRANCE, Crime Reporter and SIMON HUGHES | April 22, 2009

ALL of the 12 terror suspects hurriedly arrested after the bungle by top cop Bob Quick have now been let out of a nick — WITHOUT charge.

Eleven of the men - all Pakistani nationals - face being deported after they were transferred into the custody of the UK Borders Agency.

The suspects — who were accused of sneaking into the country on student visas — were held after Scotland Yard Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick swanned into No10 accidentally flashing a top secret file about a police probe into an alleged bomb threat.

He quit next day — as anti-terror cops were forced into action early.

Tory MP Patrick Mercer — chairman of the Commons Counter-terrorism sub-committee — stormed last night: “If any compromise to this intelligence operation has occurred because of the actions of Bob Quick then that is totally unacceptable.”

The men aged 22 to 30 were seized in Manchester, Liverpool and Lancashire over a suspected Easter plot to bomb shopping centres.

In a statement, Greater Manchester Police said today: “All of the suspects arrested by the North West Counter Terrorism Unit during the recent operation have now been released.

“On Wednesday April 8, in an intelligence-led operation that required intervention to disrupt activity, 12 men were arrested under the Terrorism Act.

"One was subsequently released into the custody of the UK Borders Agency.

“The remaining 11 men were questioned and the evidence gathered presented to the CPS who advised there was insufficient evidence gathered within the permitted timescales which would have allowed a warrant of further detention to be gathered or charges to be pursued.

“It is not possible to bail people under terrorism legislation so the men were released.

“Public safety is always the police’s top priority and all information is fully considered and acted upon appropriately to minimise risk to the public.”

A police source said: “There isn’t the evidence to charge them. Time will tell how much Bob Quick is to blame for that."