'Chip shop terrorists' accused of planning bomb attack using driverless car

Police surround the Mermaid Traditional Fish Bar, which is owned by Andy Star, where they found a laboratory above the shop. (Counter Terrorism Policing North East/PA Wire)

Two men who allegedly plotted a terror attack from above a chip shop planned to place a bomb inside a driverless car, a court heard.

Andy Star, 32, owner of the Mermaid Traditional Fish Bar in Chesterfield, and Farhad Salah, 23, were hoping to harm “infidels” using the weapon, which could be placed inside the vehicle, prosecutors have said.

Jurors at Sheffield Crown Court heard that the younger of the two defendants had told a contact that the vehicle could be controlled by a laptop.

Prosecutor Anne Whyte QC told jurors: “They intended to manufacture a device which would be placed in a vehicle but controlled remotely so that they did not have to martyr themselves in the process.”

Andy Star, 32, (r) who is accused at Sheffield Crown Court of working with Farhad Salah, 23, (l) to attempt to build a remotely-controlled bomb. (Counter Terrorism Policing North East/PA Wire)

Describing the two defendants as supporters of Islamic State, she said their intentions were “sophisticated” and “lethal”, adding that there was evidence to suggest they had been testing “from a very low level how to make and ignite explosives”.

Jurors were told that the pair shared instructional videos with one another, with the prosecutor saying that Salah believed he and Star had “mastered the art of an explosive reaction”.

Days before his arrest, Salah is said to have told a contact: “We have made invention in the field of explosion we have produced substance, if you put it in any explosive it triples the power … and also controlling vehicle with laptop and without a driver.”

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Following their arrests on 19 December, both defendants “denied any involvement in terrorism”.

Star supposedly said he was not a supporter of Islamic State, while Salah told officers he was not a threat and that his Facebook account, which prosecutors said was evidence of his “affiliation to Islamic State”, had been hacked.

The prosecution will resume its case on Monday morning.

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