COUNTER-terrorism police have swooped on a market town to arrest two 14-year-old boys suspected of plotting an outrage.

Police confirmed the two teenage boys from Northallerton are being held on “suspicion of preparing for an act of terrorism” under Section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006.

Since the arrests on Saturday, there has been intense police activity in the Romanby area of the town and numerous searches were last night ongoing at several properties in North Yorkshire, but police have not specified their locations.

The Northern Echo: ARRESTS: Police vehicles were present on Boroughbridge Road and Grange Road in Northallerton after two boys were arrested on suspicion of preparing for an "act of terrorism". Picture: HANNAH CHAPMAN

ARRESTS: Police vehicles were present on Boroughbridge Road and Grange Road in Northallerton. Picture: HANNAH CHAPMAN

While residents said they had been stunned to learn the police activity was related to a terror probe, the boys were taken to a police station in West Yorkshire, where they remain in custody.

A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said they were supporting the North-East Counter Terrorism Unit with investigations and searches.

He added: "Officers believe that this is an isolated incident and the wider community are not at risk.

“We appreciate the cooperation of local residents whilst the investigation continues.”

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman added: “We understand that people may have concerns as a result of this activity and we are grateful for the patience and understanding of the public while these enquiries are carried out."

Witnesses reported seeing a large number of police vehicles on Grange Close and Boroughbridge Road, in Romanby, near a derelict former tyre garage, for most of the day on Saturday and into Sunday.

Numerous police cars were also seen on the A167, Boroughbridge Road, the main road to the southern end of North Yorkshire's county town.

Residents reported seeing unmarked police cars along with four marked cars at the scene, as part of a police presence which remained at the scene from Saturday morning until 2pm on Sunday.

There were reports of searches taking place in Romanby on Sunday, with much of the police activity centred on a shed with a blue shutter door behind the main garage building.

People living nearby said they had been unaware there was a terrorism-related incident being investigated around them.

A Grange Close resident said: “The officers would only say that it's an ongoing investigation, but if it's connected to an investigation into terrorism then I'm shocked, really shocked.

“A few months back there was a problem with kids getting in there to use it as a skatepark, but the owners put some better security in and it's been fine since. I've never seen anything suspicious at all."

Another householder on Grange Close said he assumed the police activity must have been a training exercise, while another said: "This is such a quiet street, I really can't believe it. "We didn't think it was anything to worry about, but now I'm really concerned."