A foster couple who reportedly took in two suspects in the London Tube bombing are said to be ’devastated’.
The home of carers Penelope and Ronald Jones was raided by counter-terrorism police on Saturday morning, a day after a ‘bucket bomb’ partially exploded on a District line train at Parsons Green underground station.
Mrs Jones, 71, and her husband, 88, have vacated their terrace house in Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey, to stay with friends while police search the property.
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It has been claimed that two men who were fostered by the couple are being questioned by police investigating the Parsons Green bombing.
An 18-year-old, understood to be suspected of planting the device on the train, and a 21-year-old were both arrested under the Terrorism Act following Friday’s blast.
The older suspect is believed to be Yahya Faroukh, reportedly from Syria.
Both are believed to have spent time in the care of Mr and Mrs Jones, who were awarded MBEs by the Queen in 2010 for services to children and families, having fostered 268 children since the 1970s, including refugees.
Neighbours said the couple are ‘devastated’ they may have unwittingly welcomed potential terror suspects into their home.
Neighbour Nicky Rider, 43, told the Mail Online: ‘They are a lovely couple. I have known them all my life. They must be devastated.’
After they were awarded their MBEs, Mrs Jones said: ‘We open our hearts to all the children. Anybody that comes to us, we will do whatever we can to help them with whatever they need.’
The couple have six grown-up children of their own and had given up fostering a few years ago, but reopened their home after seeing the plight of children who had arrived in the UK from war zones.
Surrey county councillor Alison Griffiths said the couple are ‘great pillars’ of the community.
She told The Guardian: ‘They do a job that not many people do.’
The two suspects in the bombing, which left 30 people injured, were arrested on Saturday.
The 21-year-old was arrested in Hounslow on Saturday night, while the 18-year-old man was detained on Saturday morning in the departure area of Dover ferry port.
Following their arrests, the UK’s terror threat level was lowered from its highest point, critical, to severe by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre.
Home secretary Amber Rudd said police had made ‘good progress’ in the investigation as she announced the move.
Meanwhile, CCTV images have emerged appearing to show a person walking with a Lidl bag on the morning of Friday’s rush hour Tube attack.
The footage, acquired by ITV News, is reported to have been filmed in Sunbury-on-Thames.
Images posted on social media following the Parsons Green attack appeared to show wires protruding from a flaming bucket inside a plastic Lidl carrier bag on the floor of a carriage.
(Main picture: PA)