A man from Surrey has been found guilty of terrorism offences including possessing explosive substances.
Asad Bhatti of Holland Close, Redhill was arrested and charged in January 2021, and a search was carried out at an address in Redhill.
On Friday (17/3), at the Old Bailey, the 47-year-old was found guilty of two counts of possessing an article for the purpose of terrorism, contrary to Section 57 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and three counts of making or possessing an explosive substance under suspicious circumstances contrary to Section 4 of the Explosive Substance Act.
Bhatti was investigated by officers from Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE) after he had taken his computer in to a shop to be fixed and a member of staff found some concerning file titles which he reported.
Upon further investigation by CTPSE, some documents were discovered suggesting whoever was using the device had an interest in explosives and making explosive devices.
Following this discovery, Bhatti was arrested and a search was carried out at his home in Redhill and at a storage container he rented.
In the storage unit officers found chemicals, chemistry equipment, electronic circuitry and even an improvised explosive device, which was dismantled by a specialist explosive ordnance disposal team. This device was not deemed to be functional due to some of the materials used. At his property, items including a USB stick containing guides to make explosive devices were seized.
Bhatti was also found to be in possession of manuals he compiled and wrote himself. He had spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations on making explosives, shooting techniques and hand combat, along with manuals published by others on making explosives and combat. This resulted in suspicion that the possession of all these documents was for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism.
Detective Chief Superintendent Olly Wright, Head of CTPSE, said: “The case against Bhatti was strong, I am glad the jury have found him guilty today.
“There was clear evidence of his extreme Islamist ideology and the danger he posed. He clearly hated those whom he considers do not follow his version of Islam, and he made a range of derogatory comments towards those he considers to be ‘unbelievers’.
“I am especially grateful to the member of public who recognised the risks and took steps to call the police. This allowed Counter Terrorism Policing to stop Bhatti’s progress in manufacturing explosive devices which could otherwise have caused significant harm to the public.”
Bhatti will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on Tuesday 25 April.
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