“But a police source raised the question of why the men — who had earlier been seen walking along a track near bushland off New Illawarra Rd — were at a location clearly marked as restricted Commonwealth land.” Why indeed? Were they “sightseeing,” as other Muslims discovered in sensitive areas have claimed? Will Australian police monitor the movements of these men in the future, or would that be “Islamophobic”?
“Group of five men released after police called to area near Lucas Heights nuclear reactor,” by Warren Gibbs, The Daily Telegraph, September 23, 2014 (thanks to Kenneth):
A GROUP of men triggered a security scare at Sydney’s Lucas Heights nuclear reactor yesterday after two vehicles parked about 100m from the front security gate.
The five adults, who were with two children, were interviewed by NSW and federal police for about 20 minutes after they were spotted near the highly sensitive site at 5.15pm.
Police quizzed the men about their movements, taking down particulars from each of them and checking their identifications.
After the discussions, the men were allowed to go without charge, with police warning them that Lucas Heights is a protected Commonwealth facility controlled by the Australian Nuclear Science And Technology Organisation.
But a police source raised the question of why the men — who had earlier been seen walking along a track near bushland off New Illawarra Rd — were at a location clearly marked as restricted Commonwealth land.
“That’s the most concerning question and explains why so many police raced to the scene,” the source said.
Nine News reported that at least two of the men, wearing robes, were seen praying not long after they had been stopped by police.
It is believed police warned the men that trespassing in the restricted zone was potentially an offence that carries a $2000 maximum fine and/or up to six months in jail depending on the circumstances.
A police spokesman said: “Following inquiries, all occupants of the vehicles were allowed to leave.”
The Lucas Heights facility is heavily protected and security has been progressively increased in the wake of several security scares and incidents in recent times involving bushwalkers and trail-bike riders.
One unrelated example was a terror plot involving French Islamic convert Willie Brigitte in 2003.
The facility was also the focus of the foiled Pendennis terror plot involving Australian-born terrorist Mohamed Elomar, who was photographed proudly holding the severed heads of Syrian soldiers while fighting with Islamic State militants.
He was arrested in 2005 and jailed for being the bombmaker in the Pendennis plot to blow up the nuclear reactor and the MCG.
The area is subject to restricted airspace and is bound by perimeter fencing, CCTV cameras, barriers and tyre-shredding road spikes.
A huge steel protective barrier was built over the nuclear reactor in 2004 to protect its core if an aircraft was flown into it.
Dubbed the “chip basket”, the striking 30m-long feature, the first of its kind in the world, acts as a net to catch a terrorist-piloted aircraft.
Personnel vetting, information security and technology measures are part of the security measures on the site, 31km southwest of Sydney.