Prospective suicide bombers face longer jail terms if money collected from the public is not repaid.
Six men who were referred to in court as “Al Qaeda terrorists” posed as charity fundraisers in Birmingham to fund a plot to let loose suicide bombers across the UK and have been ordered to pay back over £33,000 .
The group intended to detonate up to eight rucksacks full of explosives in an offensive designed to be more lethal than the 7/7 bombings in London.
Motivated by Al Qaeda’s “Inspire” magazine, they also spoke of sticking blades to a truck and driving it into crowds of people.
Leader of the pack, Irfan Naseer, along with Ashik Ali, Irfan Khalid, Bahader Ali, Mujahid Hussain and Rahin Ahmed were all jailed for a total of 51 years for offences which included attending terrorist training, fundraising for terrorism and plotting a bombing campaign in the UK.
The potential bombers tried to fund the attack by wearing high-vis vests and pretending to be street collectors for registered charities, fooling hundreds of Muslims across Birmingham.
Last week Judge Mr Justice Henriques, sitting at Woolwich Crown Court, ordered the men to pay back £33,032.87 – with the majority being paid to Muslim Aid and the remainder to Madrasah-e-Ashraful Uloom in Bordesley Green.
The men have three months to repay the money which they had collected over 23 days in charity tins and buckets, or each will face additional time in jail.
A sum of the money was used to purchase a car, while two thirds of the charity funds was lost by the clique’s “treasurer” in a online trading stock market account when he left his computer for just a few minutes to make a cup of tea.
The gang was finally prevented from carrying out their master plan after bugs were concealed in their cars and their Balsall Heath explosives factory, which conveyed the detailed planning back to police.
The men were caught bragging about the mayhem they would cause and criticised the 7/7 suicide bombers for not killing enough people because they had not put nails into their devices in 2005.
The cell also spoke of mixing poison with hand cream and spreading it on car doors overnight to initiate a mass killing when people headed to work in the morning.
At their trial last April Mr Justice Henriques told the men: “Your plot had the blessing of Al Qaeda and you intended to further the aims of Al Qaeda.”
Detective Superintendent Shaun Edwards, head of investigations for the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit said: “Our first priority was always to put these dangerous men behind bars. But it was also important to us that we got the money back for the charity.
“The amount stolen represents donations made by thousands of generous members of the public, given to support the needy. We were appalled that anyone could pose as an official collector and then steal the money to fund crime.”
Karen Jones of the Crown Prosecution Service Counter Terrorism Division added: “The two charities only received in total about £2,500 from the thousands of pounds that was effectively stolen from the community to fund a potentially deadly terrorist attack.
“The court order demonstrates that our fight against terrorism is not limited to removing dangerous individuals from our streets, it also involves removing the funds that allow terrorists to travel abroad and plot to cause loss of life in this country.”
A spokesperson for Muslim Aid welcomed the confiscation order brought under the Proceeds of Crime Act and said the funds will be “used toward providing help to the homeless and the hungry in Britain”.