Page last updated at 03:33 GMT, Friday, 23 May 2008 04:33 UK

Home searched after Exeter blast

Nicky Reilly
Nicky Reilly was arrested and taken to hospital

Police are searching a flat linked to a man arrested after an explosion in a restaurant in the centre of Exeter.

Armed officers raided the house in King Street, Plymouth, connected to 22-year-old Nicky Reilly, who is believed to have converted to Islam.

He was detained by Devon and Cornwall Police after a device detonated inside the Giraffe restaurant in Exeter.

Mr Reilly, who has mental health problems, is being treated in hospital for facial injuries.

We believe that despite his weak and vulnerable state he was preyed upon, radicalised and taken advantage of
Deputy Chief Constable Tony Melville

Deputy Chief Constable Tony Melville said Mr Reilly, who is under police guard, appeared to be a "vulnerable" individual who had been "preyed upon" and "radicalised".

At a news conference yards from the restaurant, where the explosion happened just before 1300 BST on Thursday he said: "Our investigations so far indicate that Reilly, who has a history of mental illness, had adopted the Islamic faith.

"We believe that despite his weak and vulnerable state he was preyed upon, radicalised and taken advantage of."

The 230m Princesshay shopping complex, where the restaurant is situated, was evacuated for several hours as were businesses in the nearby High Street.

The restaurant was busy at the time but no-one else was injured.

Another device found outside the restaurant did not explode.

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Amateur footage of police clearing street

Mr Melville said two explosive devices were made safe by bomb disposal experts, and were now being forensically examined.

The Royal Navy team used a robot to help investigate the scene of the explosion.

"After the arrest, police searched an address in King Street, Plymouth, linked to Reilly using armed officers from the Tactical Aid Group," said Mr Melville.

He said the premises were still being searched as part of the operation.

Police said Mr Reilly travelled the 40 miles by bus from Plymouth to Exeter on Thursday and they wanted anyone who saw him, or could help track his movements over recent weeks, to contact them.

Although Exeter city centre had opened to the public again on Thursday night, the Giraffe restaurant remained cordoned off by metal barriers.




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