- Six men charged by police in relation to alleged plot to sneak men abroad
- One had order form for arms and was heading overseas, magistrates told
- Two others were allegedly going abroad to join terrorists, court hears
- Also among them is Anthony Small, a former boxer from London
- Two others also appeared in court charged over false identity documents
- All six men will appear at the Old Bailey early next year
- Comes as another man is arrested in separate south London terror probe
When police stopped a suspicious looking lorry leaving Britain from Dover late one night, little did they suspect what they would find inside.
For crowded in the back was a Libyan terror suspect allegedly carrying an order for £18million of ammunition, two Britons suspected of plotting to fight with Islamic State in Syria and 17 illegal immigrants – all attempting to flee the country.
Yesterday details emerged for the first time of the extraordinary raid by Scotland Yard on November 30 this year, as three men found in the vehicle appeared in court charged with terrorist offences.
Westminster magistrates heard that among the 20 stowaways was Abdulraouf Eshati, 28, who yesterday appeared in court accused of carrying records relating to the purchase of $28.5million (£18.2million) of anti-aircraft, machine gun and AK47 ammunition and an order form for the £500,000 hire of a Russian cargo plane, all of which were said to be bound for Tobruk in Libya.
Prosecutor Mark Dawson said: ‘Very late on 30 November, a lorry, an articulated lorry, was stopped at the port of Dover leaving the country.
Within the back of the lorry were some 20 people. It is clearly a people trafficking operation. One of the people was this defendant. On his phone were documents.’
He added: ‘The first document “Defence and Software” relates to an order form, it seems, from a Swiss arms company for the delivery of $28.5million dollars’ worth of heavy duty military ammunition: half a million dollars’ worth of ammunition, which is 22 tonnes of 7.62mm ammunition for AK47 type weaponry; $10million dollars for 275 tonnes of 14.5mm ammunition for heavy machine guns; and $18million dollars for 807 tonnes of 23mm anti-aircraft ammunition.
Chase: Would-be illegal immigrants race after a lorry to board it in Calais this October
Ambition: Keeler had intended to ‘flee the country, with plans to travel to Syria to fight for the Islamic State’
‘1,100 tonnes of ammunition in total. It is heading towards Tobruk in Libya.’ Yesterday Eshati, a Libyan immigrant, spoke through an interpreter only to say his name, date of birth and confirm that he has no known address in the UK. He did not enter a plea to the charges.
Separately, five other defendants facing terror charges also appeared at court, two of whom were found to be travelling in the same lorry.
Michael Coe, 33, and Simon Keeler, 43, both of East London, were held at the same time as Eshati. Mr Dawson said Coe and Keeler had intended to ‘flee the country, both with plans to travel to Syria to fight for the Islamic State’.
Former boxer Anthony Small is among six men charged over an alleged plot to smuggle extremists abroad. Another man (not pictured) who also appeared in court today allegedly had an order form for arms with him when he was arrested
Both were found to be carrying false passports and driving licences, it was claimed.
Police later arrested former British boxing champion, Anthony Small, who is suspected of plotting to join them in Syria.
The 33-year-old Islam convert who won both the British and Commonwealth championships in 2009, appeared in court with them.
All three men are charged with preparation of acts of terrorism, and conspiracy to possess false identity documents.
Yesterday the three radicals refused to sit down in the dock because of their ‘religious beliefs’, the court heard.
The charges were brought after two men were allegedly found among migrants in a lorry at the Port of Dover
Tony Lodge, defending, said they wanted to remain standing because they ‘bow to the will of god alone.’
Two others also appeared in court, Hamzah Safdar, 24, and Zagum Perviaz, 35, accused of running a large-scale operation from a kebab shop in East London producing identity documents for people intending to commit terrorist acts, the court was told.
All six suspects were remanded in custody, and the cases will appear on January 9 at the Old Bailey.