Five held in Britain over pope 'plot' are cleaners: council

17th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Five men arrested on suspicion of plotting "acts of terrorism" linked by police to Pope Benedict XVI's state visit to Britain are street cleaners, a local council said Friday.

The men work for a private contractor used by Westminster City Council, which is responsible for areas of central London where the pope was spending part of Friday, including the Houses of Parliament and the historic Westminster Abbey.

"We can confirm that the people at the centre of the investigation work for one of our contractors... who employ 650 on-street staff to keep Westminster's streets clean and free from rubbish," said Leith Penny, a Westminster City Council director.

Media reported that the men, aged between 26 and 50, were from Algeria.

Westminster City Council said they worked for Veolia Environmental Services, which claims it is Britain's leading waste management organisation.

The five men were arrested early Friday "on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism," police said, but the itinerary and policing arrangements for the pope's visit remain unchanged.

© 2010 AFP

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