Knife-Wielding Man Arrested After Scaling Fence at Blair's Residence

A man carrying a large kitchen knife was arrested after scaling the back fence of Prime Minister Tony Blair's residence on Downing Street and being tackled to the ground, authorities said Monday.

The 32-year-old man, who was arrested Sunday night, struggled briefly with police before he was pinned and handcuffed, said a Metropolitan Police spokeswoman, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with department policy.

The intruder was arrested before he could climb another wall into the gardens of the home, police said, adding that the prime minister was at home at the time but was not at risk.

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Blair's office would not comment on the whereabouts of his family during the incident Sunday. Treasury chief Gordon Brown, who lives next door, was in Scotland with his family, his office said.

The intruder was being held at a central London police station on suspicion of fighting and assaulting a police officer. Police said the incident would prompt a security review.

Security at the prime minister's residence has become more stringent in recent years due to the threat of terrorism, though detectives said there is no terrorist link to this incident. Large metal gates and armed police officers protect the entrance and tourists often gather in front of them to peer down the narrow street.

It was not the first breach at No. 10 Downing St. In 1994, the Irish Republican Army fired a mortar from a nearby street into the gardens. The blast shattered glass, but then-Prime Minister John Major and members of his Cabinet, who were meeting at the time, escaped injury.

In 2000, a disturbed man crashed his car into the iron gates at the main entrance to the street, injuring an American tourist.

In 1982, a man scaled the walls around nearby Buckingham Palace and spent more than 10 minutes talking to Queen Elizabeth II in her bedroom.

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