Counter-terror police probe ‘hate-filled’ Dover immigration centre firebombing

Counter-terror police are leading an investigation into the firebombing of an immigration processing centre which detectives suspect was sparked by “some form of hate filled grievance”.

The man suspected of carrying out Sunday’s attack has been named by police as 66-year-old Andrew Leak from High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire.

After throwing two or three “crude” incendiary devices at the site in Dover, Kent, Leak is believed to have killed himself at a nearby petrol station.

Two members of staff at the centre were left with minor injuries.

Detective Chief Superintendent Olly Wright, head of Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE), said: “This was a traumatic incident for everyone involved, and the wider community, and we’re working hard to establish exactly what led to the events on Sunday morning.

“We understand that when counter terrorism policing become involved, it can be worrying for some people, but I would like to reassure people that there is nothing to suggest any ongoing wider threat at this time.

“What appears clear is that this despicable offence was targeted and likely to be driven by some form of hate filled grievance, though this may not necessarily meet the threshold of terrorism.

“At this point, the incident itself has not been declared a terrorist incident, but this is being kept under review as the investigation progresses.”

Migrant Channel crossing incidents
Emergency services near the migrant processing centre in Dover, Kent, following an incident (PA)

Facebook posts on an account under the name of an Andy Leak from High Wycombe contain anti-Muslim sentiments and complaints about people claiming benefits if they do not speak English.

One, shared on August 9, said: “The next time the job centre sanctions your money for not looking for enough work ask them about the thousands of people getting benefits cannot speak English and can not write English, how are they looking for work?

“Unemployment benefits clearly state you cannot claim benefits if not looking for work, all of these people should be excluded from benefits.

“You can clearly not look for work if you cannot read English or speak English, they are breaking the law, time to stand up.”

Another post, on July 24, said: “All Muslims are guilty of grooming, they never spoke out because it wasn’t their daughters, f****** animals wake up up.

“They only rape non-Muslims that’s a religious hate crime are you f****** stupid.”

A woman who lives near Leak’s former home said she occasionally saw him locally in a wheelchair and thought he might have mental health problems.

The carer, who is in her 40s and did not wish to be named, said her friends were neighbours with Leak.

She said: “We have friends that live over there. I have no idea why he did what he did.”

Asked what her impression of Leak was, the woman said: “One minute he was in a wheelchair, the other he was walking.”

Police believe he was working alone and are trying to establish the exact circumstances and motivation for the incident.

Officers say there is not believed to be any wider threat to either the High Wycombe or Dover areas.

A search warrant was carried out at a property in High Wycombe on Monday and a number of items of interest were recovered, including digital media devices, which officers say are being examined as quickly as possible.

Due to the nature of the evidence gathered so far, Kent Police said it is “clear” officers with specialist experience are best placed to lead the probe and have handed the investigation over to CTPSE.

Officers were called at 11.22am on Sunday morning to The Viaduct road by the Western Jet Foil site.

The Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit attended and made sure there were no further threats.

Following the incident, 700 people were moved to Manston asylum processing centre near Ramsgate for safety reasons.