The raids were conducted because of the alleged purchase of certain items and those involved had not yet identified a specific target.
Items identified at addresses where the arrests were made, required the attendance of explosive ordnance disposal officers on a precautionary basis. No assembled explosive material was found.
These arrests will have been undertaken following an extensive intelligence operation and conducted at a time well prior to the mobilisation stages of any planned terrorist activity or where the individuals may have posed a threat to public safety.
It is possible that immediate intelligence obtained by officers from North East Counter Terrorism Unit about the purchase history of some of the suspects was initially assessed as being consistent with the assembly of homemade explosives.
A number of items “of interest” were recovered. What those items were has not been divulged. There is rightful need for concern about the purchase of items that can be combined to manufacture explosives However, past cases have shown that initial assumptions among investigators are sometimes incorrect because materials for making homemade explosives can also have innocent uses.