A man has been jailed after an investigation led by the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command revealed he was attempting to buy a grenade, which he was planning to use to target a police station.
Mohammed Chowdhury, 24, of Bethnal Green, east London, U.K., was arrested in February 2020 after a proactive police operation identified that he was attempting to purchase a grenade.
Following his arrest, officers attended Chowdhury’s address and seized a number of digital devices. Detectives found evidence on a phone seized that Chowdhury had downloaded and viewed a number of documents containing recipes for making explosive substances and information on how to create explosive devices.
Officers also recovered a number of hand-written notes at Chowdhury’s address, which included details of chemicals, explosives and diagrams copied from the manuals he downloaded onto his phone.
Chowdhury was charged with various offenses relating to the attempted purchase of the grenade and the possession of the documents found on his phone. Whilst in prison awaiting trial, it also emerged that Chowdhury spoke to family members, telling them that his intended target for the grenade was a police station.
On November 18 2020 Chowdhury pleaded guilty to four counts of possessing documents likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, under section 58 of the Terrorism Act (TACT) 2000. Following a trial which concluded in February 2021, he was also found guilty of attempting to possess an explosive with intent to endanger life or property, contrary to section 3 of the Explosives Substance Act, 1883.
Chowdhury was sentenced at the Old Bailey court on June 21 to nine years’ imprisonment.
Commander Richard Smith, head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command said: “Chowdhury downloaded a number of extremely concerning documents and manuals, containing details of how to create and deploy explosives and lethal weapons. What’s more, he then made very serious attempts at trying to get hold of a hand grenade, which, it transpired, he was considering to use against a police station. These are extremely serious offenses and the public are undoubtedly safer following this investigation and outcome.
“This case is a reminder to everyone that the threat from terrorism remains. I want to remind the public that their continued vigilance and support is needed as we start to see things opening up and the return of crowded places and public events. I would urge anyone who sees or hears anything suspicious to contact police, no matter how small or insignificant they think it may be – it is better to let us know so that we can take a look and take any action as appropriate.”