Sheffield terror duo were ‘plotting to use driverless car in UK attack’

Two men accused of planning a terror attack created and tested explosives in an attempt to create a device involving a driverless car, a court has heard.

Tuesday, 4th June 2019, 1:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th June 2019, 2:45 pm

Gunpowder, homemade fuses and explosive chemicals were found at the properties of Farhad Salah and Andy Star who have gone on trial accused of planning an attack in the UK.

A jury of eight men and four women at Sheffield Crown Court heard Salah, aged 24, of Brunswick Road, Burngreave, and Andy Star, aged 32, of Sheffield Road, Chesterfield, are charged with preparing to commit acts of terrorism.

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Police activity around the Fatima Community Centre on Brunswick Road in Burngreave, Sheffield on the day of the raids - December 19, 2017.

Opening the case, Miss Anne Whyte QC, prosecuting, said counter terror police carried out raids at the Fatima Community Centre in Burngreave on December 19, 2017, where Salah was, and the Mermaid Fish Bar in Chesterfield, where Star lived and worked.

Miss Whyte said the pair were planning an attack and Salah had become 'frustrated' at not being able to travel to the Middle East to join terrorist organisation Islamic State, which she said they both supported.

The two had decided that improvised explosive devices (IEDs) could be made and used in the UK in a way which would spare their own lives but harm others they considered ‘infidels’, she said.

Miss Whyte read a message Salah had sent in the weeks leading up to the arrests, which said: "My only attempt is to find a way to carry out martyrdom operation with cars without driver, everything is perfect only the programme is left."

Police activity around the Fatima Community Centre on Brunswick Road in Burngreave, Sheffield on the day of the raids - December 19, 2017.

She said Star had access to the materials for small test runs with explosives, and was making test devices in his flat above the chip shop on Sheffield Road. Chesterfield.

She added: "The intention was to manufacture some sort of device that could be placed in the vehicle but could be controlled remotely so that no-one had to martyr themselves in the process."

Miss Whyte said forensic tests carried out on substances found at the fish bar showed there was a total of 506g of 'viable low explosive material' that when confined into containers or tubs 'could be made to explode'.

Police pictured outside Mermaid Fish Bar on Sheffield Road, Chesterfield, in December 2017.

She said there was 19g of gunpowder found in a tub in a black and yellow bag in the loft of the chip shop following a four-day search of the property.

The prosecutor also said there was 9g of gunpowder found on a window sill in the community centre.

Miss Whyte said both men said they told officers they were confused when arrested but complied with officers.

Both men deny a charge of preparing to commit acts of terrorism, which Miss Whyte said related to them both researching the manufacture of explosive substances, obtaining components including chemicals and then manufacturing and testing devices with a view to carrying out attacks in the UK.

The trial continues.