Hawzah News Agency (London, UK) - A Croydon man collected fireworks, fuses and a remote control and tampered with them so he could build a “bomb” to target a South London mosque in a potential terrorist attack.
Steven Bishop, of Melfort Road in Thornton Health , even had a firing device delivered to his home two days after he was arrested on October 29.
He was caught after his council key worker told police he had shower her images of the things he was collecting to “build a bomb” and said he intended to target a mosque.
At Kingston Crown Court on Monday, Bishop, 41, pleaded guilty to possessing an explosive substance with intent, having already pleaded guilty to collecting information likely to be useful to committing or preparing an act of terrorism.
When police analysed his smartphone, they found he had viewed videos about the Manchester, London Bridge and Paris terrorist attacks and search for information on how to access the dark web.
He had also posted a comment on Facebook about the victims of the Manchester Arena attack where he said: “Don’t worry something bad is going to happen soon mark my words.”
Two VPN apps, designed to hide what websites the user has been visiting, were installed on his phone, but police found a webpage was still open showing Bishop had been researching information on explosives detonators.
He had also done online searches for Morden mosque.
When police had first gone to Bishop’s home after the key worker raised concerns, he claimed he was only planning to let off fireworks at his mother’s home.
But he was arrested at his mother’s home and at Bishop’s Thornton Heath home officers found the stash of fireworks, which had been tampered with, and other equipment used to make homemade incendiary devices, including fuses, a remote control and igniter.
Meanwhile, at his mother’s house they found a red suitcase with more parts that could be used to make an incendiary device.
There were also hand-written notes by Bishop, detailing how to make explosives and how to access the dark web.
Commander Clarke Jarrett head of the Met's Counter Terrorism Command said it was “clear” that Bishop was stockpiling parts with the intention of targeting a mosque.
He added:"Thanks to the diligence of his key worker in alerting us we were able to intervene before he could progress with his plans any further and crucially, nobody came to any harm.
“This example shows that information we get from the public really can help to protect the public and save lives. If you have any information about suspicious or terrorist activity, then please ACT and call police on 0800 728 321.
"Given Bishop was focused upon a mosque, and in light of recent events in New Zealand, we also know that Muslim and other faith communities may be feeling particularly concerned and vulnerable. Specialist officers continue to provide support and protective security advice to mosques, and indeed all places of worship across the UK on how to best keep their buildings and visitors safe."
Bishop was remanded in custody and is due to be sentenced on April 10.