A follow-up on all the police raids that happened yesterday:
Via the Beeb:
Seventeen people arrested for alleged animal rights extremism after raids in the UK and Europe are being questioned.
About 700 police officers and support staff were involved in the operation at addresses in the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands, leading to 32 arrests.
Some 14 others have been released on police bail and one man was released without charge after Tuesday’s raids.
Police said the raids were one of the largest operations against animal rights extremists in the UK.
Eight people were arrested in raids at seven addresses in Hampshire.
There were 21 other addresses raided in Berkshire, Kent, Lancashire, London, Merseyside, Northumbria, Oxford, Surrey, Sussex, Worcestershire, Yorkshire, Glasgow and Aberdare, south Wales from 0530 BST.
Two unnamed locations in the Netherlands and one in Belgium were also raided but no arrests were made.
Police said the “substantial operation” targeted burglary, conspiracy to blackmail, and offences against animal research operations.
The extremists’ targets included Huntingdon Life Sciences in Cambridgeshire, officers said.
Mr Leppard said the operation focused on the south-east of England, because that was where extremist activity was concentrated.
Action was being taken to minimise any disruption caused by the raids, he added.
Local update via the Echo:
We behaved courteously
May 2 2007
by Luke Traynor, Liverpool Echo
ASSISTANT chief constable Simon Byrne of Merseyside police said: â€œOfficers have behaved professionally and courteously throughout.
â€œI refute any allegations that officers’ behaviour was in any way heavy handed, with our response being completely proportionate.
â€œAnimal welfare has been a priority in the planning of this operation, with RSPCA officers and trained police dog handlers being present throughout the search.
â€œWe have been accused of refusing reasonable offers of assistance in gaining access to various buildings.
â€œOfficers used keys whenever possible and only forced access to buildings for which keys were not provided.â€
Charges in animal extremism probe
Nine people arrested after an inquiry into animal rights extremism have been charged with conspiracy to blackmail or blackmail, Kent police have said.
About 700 police officers and support staff raided addresses in the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands on Tuesday, leading to 32 arrests.
Twenty people have been released on police bail and one has been released without charge.
Police have been granted a further 36 hours to question two others.