Six people including three living just over a mile from the Olympic site and a former police community support officer have been arrested over a suspected terror plot.

The alleged plan involved Islamist extremists with potential targets in the UK, but was not linked to the Olympics, it is understood.

The arrests were part of a pre-planned intelligence-led operation by the Metropolitan Police counter-terror command along with armed officers, but the threat was not thought to be imminent.

Five men and a woman were arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism and are being held at a south-east London police station, police said.

Three of the men, believed to be members of the same Bangladeshi family, were arrested in a raid on a house in Stratford, east London. One, aged 24, was Tasered during his arrest but did not require hospital treatment, the Met spokesman added. The others were aged 18 and 26.

Neighbours said the occupants had been there for more than a year and there were frequently people coming and going from the property. One local resident described the men as "good people". "They are religious and they go to the mosque," she said. "They are usual Muslim young boys."

Trainee taxi driver Stephen Maguire, 23, said he heard the police from his bedroom in Eastbourne Road, which overlooks the front of the house. He said: "I heard the biggest bang ever and I saw a massive cloud of smoke and torches going up at the windows. It sounded like they were gunshots but they weren't."

In Ealing, west London, a 29-year-old man was arrested in the street, and a 21-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman were held at separate residential premises. Some of those held are understood to be British nationals, and one is a former police community support officer.

A spokeswoman for Scotland Yard said: "One of the men arrested by the Counter Terror Command today served as a PCSO for the MPS from May 2007 to September 2009 when he resigned. He was not deployed in any specialist or sensitive roles."

The force said that eight residential premises in east, west and north London and one business premises in east London were being searched.