Former Chesterfield chip shop owner on trial over alleged terror plot

Two people, including a Chesterfield man, have gone on trial accused of plotting a terror attack.

Tuesday, 4th June 2019, 3:00 pm
Police pictured outside Mermaid Fish Bar on Sheffield Road, Chesterfield, in December 2017. Andy Star owned the fish bar at the time.

Andy Star, from Chesterfield, and Farhad Salah, from Sheffield, are appearing at Sheffield Crown Court, charged with preparing to commit acts of terrorism.

The particulars of the offence are that on a day before December 19, 2017, both men researched the manufacture of explosive substances, obtained components including chemicals and then manufactured and tested devices with a view to carrying out attacks in the UK.

The trial began this morning with Anna Whyte QC, prosecuting, telling the court that both Salah and Star support Islamic State.

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Police pictured outside Mermaid Fish Bar on Sheffield Road, Chesterfield, in December 2017. Andy Star owned the fish bar at the time.

She said it was the Crown's case that Salah 'had decided that improvised explosive devices could be used in the UK [...] that would harm others'. She added Star had assisted him in that by testing the devices.

Miss Whyte told jurors that Andy Star was arrested at his home address at the Mermaid Fish Bar, Sheffield Road, Chesterfield.

Officers searched the property for four days and found a number of items in the loft, including a black iPad, black and yellow carrier bag, envelopes with foil and homemade fuses.

At around the same time officers also raided the Fatima Community Centre in Burngreave where Salah was one of four men.

Miss Whyte said forensic testing found there were 506g of 'viable low level explosive material', which she said when placed in containers or tubes could be made to explode.

In addition, 19g of gunpowder was also found in a tub in a black and yellow bag in the loft of the fish bar.

Miss Whyte said that analysis of Salah's devices showed he was an 'habitual user of social media' and that examination of these communication demonstrate his affiliation to Islamic State.

She said Salah sent an image to his contact listed as "Islam is My Life", which showed an assault rifle propped up against a wall with a caption which read "God is great, is it going to happen to see the day on which I soak the Kafrs in their own blood if Allah wins."

She told the jury: "It is the Crown's case that Farhad Salah wanted to do something meaningful to demonstrate his allegiance to IS."

Both men are Iraqi Kurds and Salah was getting 'frustrated' at not being able to travel out to the middle East to join IS, Miss Whyte said.

She said Salah sent a message to someone named 'I am not snow to be melted', in which he 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."

The court was shown an IS propaganda video which Miss Whyte said was 'designed to inspire supporters of IS' and 'frighten those who do not support IS'.

Andy Star had also posted a link to the video in the notes section of his mobile phone, the prosecutor said.

After running through a number of searches and messages between Salah and Star, Miss Whyte said they show their 'joint intent and knowledge'

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

Salah told police that Star's manufacture of fireworks was 'purely to do with New Year celebrations forthcoming'

Star also denied any involvement in terrorism and said that he had fireworks material with a view to Bonfire Night 2019.

The trial continues.