ProtectUK publication date
On 12th June 2023 Asad Bhatti from Redhill was sentenced to eight years in jail. This follows an investigation by Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE) prompted by a report from a local business.

A police investigation began after documents with suspicious titles about bomb making were found on Bhatti's laptop. The laptop was undergoing some repair work at the time. Although the witness did not know what the files were, he had some suspicions about the titles and decided that making a report was the right thing to do. This led to a thorough investigation being carried out. Searches of Bhatti’s properties and electronics ultimately secured a conviction.  

The 47-year-old was found guilty at the Old Bailey on 17th March this year. He was guilty on two counts of possessing an article for the purpose of terrorism contrary to Section 57 of the Terrorism Act 2000. He was also found guilty on three counts of making or possessing an explosive substance under suspicious circumstances contrary to Section 4 of the Explosive Substance Act.  

Detective Chief Superintendent Olly Wright, Head of Counter Terrorism Policing South East, said:  

“This case is a perfect example of how important it is that the people within our communities, the people who know it best, are confident to report anything suspicious into us. 

“Each year thousands of reports like this one, help police to tackle the terrorist threat.   

“We take all reports seriously and will investigate to establish the right steps to take, you won’t be destroying lives, but you might be saving them.  

“You are not expected to be an expert, but if you have any suspicions, please make a report. Your information could be the missing part of the puzzle we need – Action Counters Terrorism (ACT).”

Along with the manuals found on his laptop, Bhatti wrote about making explosives, shooting techniques and hand to hand combat. On a USB stick he had combat and explosive making manuals that had been published by others as well.  

Within a storage unit, officers found chemicals, chemistry equipment, electronic circuitry and even an improvised explosive device, which was dismantled and not deemed functional.  

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DCS Wright continued:

“Thankfully, due to the vigilance of a member of the public, Bhatti’s actions were investigated, and he was stopped from causing harm. We will never fully know what the consequences could have been.  

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank anyone who either has or will come forward with information, whether this leads to an investigation on this scale or not, your report will help us to keep our communities safe.”

Detective Inspector Alex Maguire, Borough Commander of Reigate and Banstead, said: 

“This sentence reaffirms our commitment, alongside our partners in Counter Terrorism Policing South East, to root out those with extremist views and bring them to justice.

“While he evidently had the intent to equip himself with harmful substances, he was stopped and those devices were not deemed functional and he has now been brought to justice.

“Public safety is our number one priority and we, together with all our partners, continue to work   tirelessly to apprehend people like Bhatti.

“I would like to thank everybody who supported the investigation and helped to secure this   conviction, especially those who came forward to report suspicions.”  

If you’ve seen or heard something that could potentially be related to terrorism, trust your instincts and report it. Your actions could save lives.

If you want to enhance your own knowledge on recognising suspicious behaviour or suspicious items, take the time to complete our award-winning Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) e-Learning.   

It only takes a moment to make a report online. In an emergency, always dial 999.

ProtectUK would like to thank the continued support of businesses and vigilance from members of the public in countering the threat from terrorism. 

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