Four members of a British terrorist cell were jailed yesterday for supplying terrorists fighting in Afghanistan with equipment bought with dole money and donations given to help earthquake victims.
They sent out laser range-finders, night sights, blank DVDs for suicide bombers to record their wills - and even balaclavas from Lidl.
Mohammed Nadim, 29, was sentenced to three years and Shahid Ali, 34, and Shabir Mohammed, 30, each received two years and four months.
They pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to supplying equipment, including computer parts, mobile phones and camping gear, to terrorists abroad.
Abdul Raheem, 32, pleaded guilty to failing to disclose information on terrorism and was jailed for a year.
The four, all from Birmingham, were members of a terror cell run by Parviz Khan, who was jailed for life last year for plotting to kidnap and behead a British Muslim soldier.
They helped Khan send four shipments containing 86 boxes of supplies between April 2006 and February 2007, with an estimated value of £20,000.
They even used the suffering of the victims of the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan as a cover to raise money and then described the terrorist items as relief aid.
Duncan Atkinson, prosecuting, said Khan had masterminded the operation involving the four men and others from his home suburb of Alum Rock, Birmingham.
Mr Atkinson said the items were dispatched to be used against British, U.S. and Pakistani forces.
Mastermind: Parviz Khan is already serving life in prison for plotting to kidnap and behead a soldier
'The items are not weapons, which are all too easily obtained in the lawless tribal areas,' he said.
'They are sending sophisticated electronic equipment readily available in Western shops.'
Khan, described as a 'fanatical extremist', identified items which were needed and even came back from Pakistan with 'shopping lists'.
Members of the cell, who all have young families and had been claiming benefits, bought items from the Argos
catalogue and scoured cut-price supermarkets such as Netto and Lidl.
Balaclavas and thermal clothing would be packed alongside computer software and night-vision binoculars, the court heard.
The shipments were described as household items, relief aid and charity donations.
Mr Atkinson said the equipment was bought using tens of thousands of pounds collected from people who had been duped into thinking they were helping those suffering in the aftermath of the Pakistani earthquake, which killed 80,000 and left more than 3.5million homeless.
The 'cargo' was packaged in Khan's home with the items often covered by packets of crisps before they were delivered by the international courier Sparkhill Shipping & Freight.
The men were arrested in October 2008 following a 'long and painstaking investigation' by the West Midlands counter-terrorism unit.
Acting Chief Inspector Dave Cook, who led the investigation, said: 'The diligence of the officers involved, and the thoroughness of the Crown Prosecution Service, meant there was a weight of evidence against the men.
'As a result, we are pleased that they decided to plead guilty.'
As he handed out their sentences Mr Justice Calvert-Smith told the men: 'The total cost of the goods exported must have amounted to something in the region of £20,000.
'In addition money was being sent out separately, as were individual items being taken out by individuals on their person and in their luggage.
'The earthquake and its consequences were used as cover for the export of these materials to assist terrorists.
'It is accepted that in all three cases your involvement only began after the earthquake, at a time when the sympathy of the world must have been with the bereaved and those involved in the earthquake.
'It is a tragedy for you and your families that you chose to get involved in this operation.'
Click to view image: '169c7604c356-1.jpg'
Click to view image: 'f6c30b95d411-2.jpg'
|Liveleak on Facebook|