Police evacuate Shadwell housing block while conducting search

Around 45 flats in Shadwell were evacuated yesterday during a police search believed to be connected to the Sellafield power plant arrests.

People living in Foley House in Tarling Street reported having to leave their homes at 4.30pm for an hour, with one neighbour saying “police had found a dangerous substance” in the garden of a home they were searching.

A search at a home in the housing block was still ongoing this afternoon - even as the five men arrested near the Cumbrian power station were released without charge.

Met police confirmed that four properties in east London were being searched today and yesterday and that police had removed a plastic container from one.

This led to explosives officers being called in and the surrounding area being cordoned off before it was declared safe.

A spokesman was unable to confirm if that related to the Shadwell address.

The container was now being examined by forensics experts.

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It is believed the ongoing search at the Shadwell flat is linked to the arrest of five men, reportedly Bangladeshi and in their 20s, near to the Sellafield nuclear power plant in Cumbria on Monday.

The men were arrested by Cumbrian police under section 41 of the Terrorism Act after allegedly taking photos of the plant but have been released without charge by Greater Manchester Police today.

Brian Butler, 56, who owns a furniture store close to Foley House, said around 40 police officers went to the building yesterday and began to conduct a search at around midday.

He said that at around 4.30pm the whole block was cordoned off and adjoining Martha Street was closed to traffic and then reopened at 5.15pm.

He said around 30 people were evacuated from the building.

Neighbours said they believed five people lived at the address being searched – a middle-aged woman, a woman in her twenties, two men in their twenties believed to be students and a man in his thirties.

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