Accused 'sought loans to fund plot'

A group accused of planning a huge suicide terror attack tried to fund it with tens of thousands of pounds of loans, including a failed attempt to get £20,000 from a payday lender, a court has heard.

The group allegedly led by Irfan Naseer, 31, Irfan Khalid and Ashik Ali, both 27, also tried to take out business loans worth £33,000 by posing as small company owners and self-employed traders, their trial at Woolwich Crown Court was told.

The trial has already heard they raised at least £12,000 by posing as Muslim Aid charity street collectors, but applied for the loans after losing more than £9,000 of it playing the foreign currency markets.

At the time, the three men on trial are alleged to have been planning and fundraising for a series of suicide bombs in an attack that could have been bigger than the July 7 2005 atrocities.

While being watched and recorded by police officers in a car driving around Birmingham in September last year, Khalid described the group as "suicide bombers driving around ready to take on England", the jury heard.

All three, part of a group of 11 men accused of being behind the plot, embarked on "clear terror planning" the court heard, talking at a flat and in the vehicle about how much explosive could be carried in a rucksack and how to use poison as part of a terror attack.

They were recorded discussing how to make improvised explosive devices, including using the contents of "cold packs" used to treat sports injuries, which they mistakenly thought contained a key chemical.

Rahim Ahmed, the associate who lost the group money in bad foreign currency trading, applied online for £20,000 from Yes Loans on September 15 last year, claiming he was a £1,100-a-month self-employed optical glazer who needed it to pay for a wedding.

But he was rejected for not meeting their criteria and even called Naseer trying to get him to reimburse him £69.50 he had paid just to be assessed, the court heard.

He had also tried to get an £18,000 loan from Barclays by claiming to be starting a business, the court heard, while Ashik Ali tried to get £15,000 from another branch of the same bank by claiming he was starting a double-glazing business.