Suffolk

RAF Mildenhall: Man drove around security barriers on to air base

Police outside RAF Mildenhall Image copyright PA
Image caption RAF Mildenhall said a man drove around pop-up security barriers to access the base

A man was able to drive around security barriers and get close to aircraft at a base in Suffolk used by the US Air Force, it has been revealed.

Shots were fired by US personnel during the security breach at RAF Mildenhall on 18 December 2017.

According to the Air Force Times (AFT), the 44-year-old man had a teddy bear strapped to his chest.

A spokesman for the base said security measures had been "significantly increased" since.

The BBC asked for a copy of the incident report but RAF Mildenhall said it was unable to disclose it without a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

However, Col Troy Pananon, 100th Air Refueling Wing commander, said the man was able to "avoid the containment area by driving around the pop-up barrier".

Image copyright PA
Image caption RAF Mildenhall is used as a transport hub by the US Air Force

Col Pananon said the issue had been "thoroughly addressed" with new physical security measures and "robust training".

"We continually test the readiness of our security forces and airmen on their ability to respond to any given incident through routine training and exercise," he said.

"I stand confident in the ability of our defenders to provide for the safety and security of our airmen and their families," he added.

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Media captionThe base was temporarily put on lockdown

According to AFT, the man said he was from the Secret Service and attempted to show a guard at the main gate a British passport as identification.

In a "hectic" 20 minutes, he drove across active taxiways, under wings of two parked planes and attempted to drive up the ramp of an Osprey aircraft, it said.

The base was temporarily put into lockdown as Suffolk Police responded.

More than 500 personnel and their families are to move from the base, which is due to close no earlier than 2027.

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