UK
06/02/2015 07:08 GMT | Updated 06/02/2015 07:59 GMT

Gateshead Army Cadets 'Threatened With Beheading' In Echo Of Lee Rigby Murder

Two teenage army cadets have claimed they were subjected to violent threats - including a reference to beheading - as they left an Army Reserve centre.

Two men in a Vauxhall Zafira were thought to have asked "Are you in the Army?" and then shouted as they drove past the two women cadets, who were not in uniform, after the pair left the centre in Alexandra Road, Gateshead.

The alleged reference to beheading has chilling echoes of the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby, who was attacked in Woolwich, south east London, in May 2013.

cadets beheading threats

The teenagers say they were threatened with "beheading"

Northumbria Police have stepped up patrols in the Gateshead area and warned other Army Reserve centres - formerly the Territorial Army - since the incident at 9.15pm on Wednesday January 21.

Police have traced the car and are trying to establish the identity of the driver.

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Gateshead Superintendent Richie Jackson said: "The men made no attempt to make any physical contact with the girls or get out of the car, and shouted the comments while driving away from the scene.

"Inquiries are ongoing to establish the exact nature of what was said during the incident and we have spoken to the two teenage girls, viewed CCTV footage from the area and have identified the vehicle and inquiries are ongoing to trace the driver."

michael adebolajo michael adebowale

Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale killed Lee Rigby outside his barracks

Fusilier Rigby was killed near the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, while off duty.

Killers Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale set about him with knives and a cleaver, hacking him to death. The pair were found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in jail.

Superintendent Richie Jackson said of the teenager's case: "As a precaution we have notified staff at other Army Reserve centres in the area and have had extra officers on patrol in Alexandra Road to reassure residents.

"Although this is concerning, it is an isolated incident and if anyone has any information that could help us with the investigation I'd ask that they contact us on 101."

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "We are aware of an incident allegedly involving members of the Army Cadet Force - this is a matter for the police and we cannot comment further. Any witnesses are urged to contact the police.

"We understand the girls were not in uniform at the time of the incident and that the suspects asked them 'Are you in the Army?' before issuing the threats."

the road

The road where the incident took place