An armed police officer in London
Anti-terror raids were launched in Sheffield and Chesterfield Getty

Police have questioned several men over a feared terror attack plot in the UK.

A number of raids were launched on Tuesday (19 December) in South Yorkshire and Derbyshire by counter-terrorism officials and army personnel.

The raids were in response to fears that several properties may have contained explosive material.

Three men, aged 22, 36 and 41, were detained in Sheffield while a 31-year-old was detained in Chesterfield.

The pre-dawn raids woke neighbours in Sheffield Road with the sounds of bangs and shouting.

It is thought that the men may have been planning a major terrorist attack at a Christmas market in London over the festive period.

One resident who was woken by the raids, Lizzie Fogarty, told the Mail: "The police were all in black with helmets and guns with a torch aimed at the house.

"All you could hear was 'Get down, get down'. I could hear them sweeping the house."

The men were arrested under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000 which relates to the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terror.

A near-identical raid took place in Germany at the same time as officials entered the homes of six Syrian nationals on suspicion of planning an attack on the Christmas market in Essen.

Five hundred German police officers were involved in four raids in different federal states. The suspects were aged between 20 and 28.

It is understood that four of them arrived in the country in December 2014; the others followed sometime during 2015.

The raids came on the same day that Chancellor Angela Merkel joined mourners in Berlin to mark the first anniversary of a Christmas market truck attack that left 12 people dead.

Germany Commemorates 2016 Christmas Market Terror Attack
German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the inauguration of a memorial to victims of the Berlin Christmas market lorry attack Sean Gallup/Getty Images