No names were released, and five of the suspects ranged in age from 26 to 40 while the sixth was arrested by counterterrorism investigators for behaving 'oddly' upon hearing of the arrest of his co-workers.
By late yesterday afternoon police had not discovered any bombs, devices, weapons or hazardous items and speculation was mounting that the suspects could be released without charge after the Pope leaves England tomorrow.
The Metropolitan Police said: ‘Today’s arrests were made after police received information following initial inquiries by detectives.
Following today’s arrests policing arrangements for the papal visit were reviewed and we are satisfied our current plan remains appropriate. The itinerary has not changed.’
The current official threat level in the UK remains at ‘severe’ which means that security chiefs believe a terror attack is ‘highly likely’.
It is understood the information acted on by the police was received by Scotland Yard and did not involve intelligence gathered by MI5, the domestic security service.
One source said: ‘Because of time constraints, it was difficult to assess the quality of this information. It came in from off the radar, but there were sufficient concerns for these men to be arrested.