POLICE swooped on a quiet Canterbury street to arrest a father and son in connection with a plot to kill and eat women.
Nurse Dale Bolinger, 57, and his poet son Rick, 30, were held after a dawn raid after officers were contacted by detectives in America probing an international ring of suspected cannibals.
They were quizzed at their home in Davidson Road on February 21 on suspicion of conspiracy charges, grooming and possessing child abuse images.
The pair were held over possible links to the trial of US "Cannibal Cop" Gilberto Valle.
Vale is said to have discussed ways of cooking women's bodies during an online conversation with a British person.
Speaking to a media circus camped outside his home, Mr Bolinger said: "None of this is real. It's all fantasy. I'm an idiot."
Referring to his son's arrest, Bolinger Snr reportedly added: "It was because he was in the same house. We haven't spoken since. He won't talk to me."
Neighbours described watching in horror as police armed with sniffer dogs and shovels swooped on their quiet street in a dawn raid.
Officers spent more than 12 hours digging up the back garden and scouring the property for clues.
A man, who lives opposite the house, said: "There were about six police cars, including a forensics vehicle. Then one of the officers got a shovel out the back and we really started to worry.
"Everyone is shocked. No one knew him particularly well, but we often saw him leaving on his bike and would say hello."
Another neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: "A lot of people around here are concerned about the allegations. Most of it is probably just fantasy."
Bolinger Sr, a father-of-two, is believed to work at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital. An East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust spokesman confirmed a member of staff had been suspended but would not confirm which hospital he worked at.
A New York court heard Valle was in regular contact with a British man who used the aliases MeatMarketMan and Moody Blues.
The contact is said to have boasted about eating two women alive, and allegedly offered to help Valle carry out his cannibal fantasies.
Valle denies charges of conspiracy to kidnap and improper use of a federal database system, after he allegedly used a police computer to research potential victims.
Kent Police spokeswoman Carly Wymark said: "Two men aged 57 and 30 from the Canterbury area were arrested on February 21 for conspiracy offences, grooming and the possession of child abuse images.
"The two men are currently on police bail while inquiries continue. Kent Police has been in touch with law enforcement authorities in the United States in relation to this investigation."