LONDON -- Two Buckingham Palace officials were arrested for possessing dynamite just two weeks before the royal wedding but Scotland Yard denied reports Tuesday that the suspects plotted 'to blow up the queen.'
Buckingham Palace confirmed a report in The Sun newspaper in its Wednesday edition that two royal servants, who had regular access to the royal family, had been arrested and charged with possession of exlosives. But a spokesman 'categorically denied' the newspaper's report that dynamite was discovered hidden in the palace.
Scotland Yard also said the palace had been searched and nothing was found.
The two palace officials appeared in court in Gloucestershire, western England, Monday.
Neither Scotland yard nor Gloucestershire police issued immediate details of the case.
But a Scotland yard spokesman said: 'It certainly wasn't a plot to blow up the queen, or the palace or anything like that.
'If it had been we'd have been a lot more involved.'
There was press speculation the explosives were stolen to commit burglary.
But Gloucestershire police would not confirm this, saying only that more information would be issued 'later tonight.'
The two footmen arrested were Andrew Gildersleve, 23, and Stephen Beevis, 20. They appeared before magistrates at Coleford in Gloucestershire last Monday, The Sun said.
Gildersleve was charged with the theft of explosives from a colliery at Bream, Gloucestershire between July 16 and 19. He was jointly charged with Beevis with burglary and theft of property, including mining equipment and batteries from a coal mine near Coleford last May, the Sun said.
The Sun said that at the time of his arrest Gildersleve was driving alone in a Land Rover (a four-wheel drive jeep-like vehicle) reported stolen in southern England. A policeman spotted it in a parking lot and a routine check showed the vehicle had been stolen. Police kept watch and arrested Gildersleve.
The Sun said they found between 60 and 80 sticks of explosives in the car.
The newspaper said police said both men were avid cave explorers and frequented the Forest of Dean area, which is pitted with mines.
Both men are footmen at Buckingham palace and Gildersleve is a high-ranked deputy-sergeant footman, palace sources said.