Northolt Man Suspected of Paying People to Commit Arson

Armed police swoop on Halsbury Road as part of operation against organised crime

Halsbury Road, Northolt
Halsbury Road, Northolt (Scene of arrest not necessarily shown). Picture: Google Streetview


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A 29-year-old man has been arrested in Northolt as part of a wider operation against organised crime.

In the early hours of Thursday (30 July) on Halsbury Road specially trained firearms officers employed a tactic called ‘containment and call out’ – colloquially known as a ‘dig out’ – which is used when they suspect a target may be armed and dangerous.

They were executing a warrant to arrest Lee Wood who was suspected to have organised alleged criminal associates to burn down houses and cars across London in return for payment.

Mr Wood, of Halsbury Road East, was later charged with conspiracy to commit arson with intent to endanger life and two counts of conspiracy to commit arson.

The arrest forms part of an investigation under Operation Eternal – the most significant operation the Met has ever launched against serious and organised crime.

Over the last few months, European partners and the National Crime Agency (NCA) have shared data with the Met relating to messages sent via an encrypted communication system called Encrochat. They obtained this information through an international operation named Venetic.

Specialist detectives across the Met have worked to build cases against those utilising these Encrochat handsets to commit some of the most serious crimes across the capital. They have monitored hundreds of handsets and analysed thousands of encrypted messages in over 100 investigations

Detective Sergeant John Cowell, one of the investigating officers, said, “The investigations being carried out under Operation Eternal, including this one, are focused on some of the most serious, high harm criminality across London. This particular case focuses on a linked series of arsons across the capital, which could have killed or seriously injured many people. The suspect in this case is alleged to have paid individuals to burn down houses and set fire to vehicles on behalf of other alleged criminal associates.

“Our top priority is tackling violence on the streets of London, and we will continue to target those involved in the most serious offences which cause unimaginable harm and blight our communities.

“This is just one of many investigations which will continue at pace over the coming months. We will not stop until we have seen these cases through the courts and brought those behind these crimes to justice.”

August 6, 2020

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