A MAN who was arrested by anti-terror police has described his ordeal as ‘a complete farce’.
John McGuiggan said officers from Northern Ireland’s serious crime branch woke him in the early hours of Tuesday as he was looking after his three-year-old grandson at his daughter’s house in Gannow Lane, in Rosegrove, Burnley.
The 50-year-old was flown to Antrim in Northern Ireland, where he was held for less than 24 hours before being released without charge.
Police said he had not been given any instructions to report to them again although a report would be sent to the Public Prosecution Service.
Speaking yesterday at his daughter’s cafe Proper Nosh, in Gannow Lane, after returning to East Lancashire, the long-distance lorry driver said: “It was unreal.
“I have no idea why it happened.
“I have never been to Londonderry in my life and all of a sudden I was being accused me of something that happened 23 years ago.
“They said I had an arms hide in Kilkee Road in Londonderry, but I live in Kilkee Gardens in County Armagh.
“The police were very nice and really professional.
“They took me over to a police station in Northern Ireland and then they had to pay for the fare back again.
“They started questioning me at about 4pm and I got out at about 3pm the next day.
“I had just come over for a visit.
“The whole thing has just been a complete farce.”
Mr McGuiggan was taken to the serious crime suite in Antrim for questioning by specialist anti-terrorism officers.
He had been visiting Burnley to look after his grandson and was due to return to his home in County Armagh today (Apr 26).
However after being quizzed, he was allowed to return back to the UK.
Commenting on being arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences, Mr McGuiggan said: “What are the people round here going to think?
“It sticks in people’s minds and it ruins your reputation and that of your whole family.
“I think it was just a complete misunderstanding that has cost a lot of taxpayers money and a lot of police time.
“It was just something that I knew nothing about.
“If I had, I would not be back in Burnley 24 hours later.
“It was a huge mistake.”
A spokesman for the Police Servive of Northern Ireland said: “A 50-year-old man arrested in the Lancashire area on Tuesday morning by detectives from PSNI’s serious crime branch has been released pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service.”