Saturday, July 2, 2011

Police tell 'high risk' Surrey villages how to spot threat of terrorists firing rockets at planes at Heathrow

Usually talks in village halls by police cover such mundane crimes as burglaries, theft of bicycles or minor speeding offences.

But officers have shocked residents in Surrey by giving briefings on  terrorists armed with rocket launchers targeting planes taking off and landing at Heathrow.

The villages in Effingham, Ockham and East Horsley have been identified as 'high risk' sites for use by extremists.
Officers from the Metropolitan Police's specialist aviation security team have been touring with a surface-to-air rocket launcher and video of a rocket hitting a plane in Iraq.

They showed residents marked maps highlighting likely launch sites for terrorist attacks and told them to be on the alert for people burying weapons in the ground.

They are available in Afghanistan for around £120 and could be quickly hidden underground and reassembled to launch an attack.

James Nicholls, from Effingham, who was invited to a meeting in Ockham, (population under 400), told the Telegraph: 'It was extraordinary, I couldn't believe it.

'We were asked to look for people burying things in the ground and shown all the components of this heat-seeking shoulder-launched missile.

'They told us there's no threat whatsoever, but please be on the lookout. This is an awful lot of work to be putting in if there is no threat.'
Threat: Rocket launchers are available in Afghanistan for around £120 and can be reassembled for attacks
Threat: Rocket launchers are available in Afghanistan for
 around £120 and can be reassembled for attacks

Officers showed a missile striking an Airbus A300 cargo plane in Iraq in 2003 which forced the aircraft into an emergency landing after it lost hydraulic power.

The Met admitted there is no evidence that terrorists have any missiles in Britain, but have held similar meetings at airports around the country.

A spokesman said that the force regularly talks to communities to encourage the public to be 'vigilant.'
He added: 'This is part of an ongoing process and is not in response to any specific intelligence.'

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