The man suspected of firebombing a Border Force immigration centre in Dover on Sunday is a 66-year-old from the High Wycombe area in Buckinghamshire who was found dead at a nearby petrol station, Kent Police have confirmed. Western Jet Foil was attacked, after which people being kept there were moved to the Manston immigration short-term holding facility located at the former Defence Fire Training and Development Centre in Thanet.
Police searched a property in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, 120 miles away, today.
Kent Police were called at 11.22am on Sunday to The Viaduct, where two to three incendiary devices had caused a fire.
The Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit attended the location to ensure there were no further threats and another device was found and confirmed safe within the suspect’s vehicle, police said.
The attacker, whose name has not been released, was described as a white man wearing a striped top, who drove up to the centre in a white Seat four-wheel drive vehicle, the agency reported.
By the afternoon the scene had been cordoned off and forensic teams were working in the area.
Two people inside the migrant centre reported minor injuries and the site remained open although 700 people were moved to Manston for safety reasons during the initial stage of the investigation, police said.
The attacker was described as a white man wearing a striped top, who drove up to the centre in a white Seat four-wheel drive vehicle, the agency reported.
A local MP later said the individual had taken their own life.
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Earlier in the day, Conservative MP Sir Roger Gale described the overcrowding at the facility in his North Thanet constituency as “wholly unacceptable” and suggested it may have been allowed to happen “deliberately”.
It comes as the Channel crossing crisis deepened, amid growing concern over the conditions in which migrants are being held while waiting to be processed once they arrive in the UK, and after one of the sites in Dover was firebombed.
So far this year close to 40,000 people have made the treacherous journey from France, crossing the world’s busiest shipping lanes in dinghies and other small boats, provisional Government figures show.
Sir Roger, the Tory MP for North Thanet, told BBC4’s Today programme he blamed the Home Office, under either former home secretary Priti Patel or the present incumbent Ms Braverman, for failing to book hotels, contributing to the overcrowding at the Manston migrant processing site – although Downing Street rejected the criticism.
Allies of Ms Patel insisted she signed off on hotel accommodation for asylum seekers whenever it was required, despite it being politically “unpalatable”.
A source close to Ms Patel said: “There was never any overcrowding when she was there.
“What would happen was if it got to the point where people were getting worried about conditions, we would sign off on more hotels.”
Despite the political difficulties, the cost to the taxpayer and the potential for a media backlash, Ms Patel agreed to hotels because “it was the right thing to do”.
Another source close to the former home secretary said it had been “business as usual” right up until the point that she resigned when Liz Truss became Prime Minister.
Former Home Office mandarin Sir David Normington said it could amount to another breach of the ministerial code if Ms Braverman made such a decision.
The department’s permanent secretary from 2005 to 2011 told BBC Radio 4’s World At One: “If it was deliberate, it’s a very serious matter.
“They mustn’t knowingly disobey or break the law.
“It’s a serious matter but we don’t know the facts and we will hear from the Home Secretary this afternoon.”