In the shadow of two security guards

It would be trite to paraphrase Aaron Sorkin and say that: “The mayor of Ribble Valley was not the target” but unfortunately many local people are thinking that last week’s terrorist arrests were because a bomb was due to go off to coincide with the Mayor cutting the ribbon at Homebase.

So instead let’s begin by concentrating on those stubborn things called facts and find out where we are.

First the suspects: well according to the Daily Mail they were recruited for Homebase by the employment Agency called Manpower through a company called SKY Interserve.

According to SKY Interserve they are called Umar Farooq, who was studying hotel management in Manchester, and Johnus Khan, both in their mid-20s and living in Liverpool.

The owner of Sky Interserve admitted he had put forward the two men, for the security guard roles “Manpower came to me wanting security guards and I recommended these two men. I have no involvement in checking if they have visas or the correct documents to work.

“Someone from Manpower spoke to them and, I assume, did the relevant checks. I don’t have details on them.”

However, perhaps the most significant report came in the Sunday Times where it was reported that information on the potential attacks had come to light after a suicide attack in Belgium was foiled.

The Sunday Times also confirmed that Clitheroe was not the target when it reported that the suspects had been photographing 4 Manchester locations: Arndale shopping centre, St Ann’s Square, the Trafford shopping centre and the Birdcage nightclub.

So what does that mean for us here in Clitheroe?

Well Homebase has opened and is doing a roaring trade (apart from having to close on Easter Sunday.) That was in someway expected as Sainsbury’s which had opened almost 10 years before too was packed for its first few days. Though I doubt anyone at Homebase high command is bothered about the free publicity.

Political activity continues as usual, but as I delivered Focus over the weekend, I have spied a handful of BNP leaflets in one discrete area. There are no local names on the leaflets (or addreses – though there is never a real address on BNP leaflets just a PO Box) so I reckon they just couldn’t resist jumping on this bandwagon.

Siren voices on the right may have problems dealing with this issue. On the one hand they want nothing to do with the EU, yet on the other the criminal intelligence came from Belgium. With even the Tories rejecting legislation on working across borders to tackle crime it would appear that sooner or later the Tories, UKIP and BNP will all be accused of being weak on terrorism.

But back to Clitheroe.

After the shock of Wednesday and the surrealism of Thursday, things are getting back to normal.

Well normal in that you don’t go round a street corner and see a TV van with a huge satellite dish feeding some 24 hour news channel somewhere in the globe.

Nor are the stringers for all the nationals here any more.

I tweeted on Thursday night:

Hacks from nationals gathered in New Inn Clitheroe – bemoaning that but for Quick it was just another terror raid & all roads lead 2 Liverpool

And five minutes later and a mobile phone call they were gone, chasing some other lead.

Meanwhile the police presence is very high profile in order to reassure the general public and sources are pointing out that there is still a security service operation ongoing in the area in case any fellow travellers reappear.

The ordinary population seem a bit bemused “Terrorists – Clitheroe?” they cry. Even the local Asian population has realised that thankfully no one is pointing a finger at them.

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