AN ACOCKS Green man has been found guilty on suspicion of travelling to Syria to engage in terrorism during a hearing at the Old Bailey in London.
Anas Abdalla, 26, of Fox Hollies Road, Acocks Green, planned his trip to Syria with a second man, Gabriel Rasmus, of Chain Walk, Lozells, in an attempt to join Islamist rebel forces.
An extensive surveillance and undercover operation provided vital information on the group’s plans.
The pair were arrested at 7.45am on Friday, April 3 2015, in Dover – a third man, Mahamuud Diini, was arrested and charged but was found not guilty earlier this year.
Their meticulous plans for travel were evidenced by several purchases of outdoor equipment by Rasmus – including walking boots, a telescope, a compass, head torch, route planner, vitamins and a thermal drink flask.
Both Abdalla and Rasmus travelled to London in a taxi to meet up with a lorry driver in a lay-by before hiding in the back of the lorry in an attempt to smuggle themselves out of the country.
Plans to escape were foiled when detectives instructed port officers to check the lorry – Abdalla and Rasmus were found lying on the floor dressed in winter coats and each had a rucksack.
Following the arrests, searches at their homes revealed extremist ideological material on computers and USB’s as well as evidence of a number of online searches they had undertaken to help them plan.
Counter terrorism detectives believe once in Europe, Abdalla and Rasmus planned to travel through Albania or Bulgaria to Greece before reaching Syria.
ACC Marcus Beale, Counter Terrorism Lead for West Midlands Police, said: “Extensive surveillance and undercover activity was used as part of this investigation while the men were planning to travel to Syria and join ISIS.
“They were unknowingly being monitored by our officers who swooped as they attempted to leave the port.
“We will use every lawful technique and power available to us to prevent people from travelling to Syria.
“If anyone is concerned that a friend or family member is thinking of travelling to Syria it is very important that they tell us as soon as possible.
“Police and other agencies can offer support to help safeguard those who are vulnerable to radicalisers.
“The sooner we can intervene, the better chance we have of preventing people from becoming embroiled in the conflict and facing potential prosecution.”
Rasmus and Abdalla will be sentenced at the Old Bailey at a future date.