Anti-terror plea to Lancashire families worried relatives will volunteer for Syria war zone

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: A Syrian man looks at the wreckage of what used to be his home A Syrian man looks at the wreckage of what used to be his home

NATIONAL and Lancashire anti-terror chiefs have appealed to families concerned about relatives travelling to fight in Syria’s civil war to contact them.

They spoke out as would-be Blackburn shoe-bomber Saajid Badat revealed he backed out of the 2001 plot he was involved in after his mother said she didn’t want a terrorist for a son.

Metropolitan police assistant commissioner Cressida Dick said worried family members were contacting the authorities about young people considering joining Jihadists in Syria.

The UK’s most senior counter-terrorism officer said: “We’re getting lots of support from families worried about their brother, son or sister.

“We want to increase the proportion of people that contact us.”

Lancashire Police Inspector Andrea Bradbury echoed her appeal to relatives of those considering joining the civil war.

Force sources confirmed its officers ‘have had some information passed to us from families’ but said no active anti-terror investigations had resulted.

Greater Manchester Police this week arrested three people suspected of being involved in fighting in Syria.

The North-West Counter-Terrorism Unit’s Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Mole said: “We have been aware for some time of people travelling to war-torn places for terrorism-related purposes.

“Travelling to a warzone in order to be involved in conflict, or supporting those who do so, could make you liable to prosecution for terrorism offences.

“Also, as well as posing a risk to themselves, there is the very real threat that they could pose a danger to our communities when they return to the UK.

“If you are concerned about a friend or family member you should contact the police.”

Insp Bradbury said: “We have been delivering public safety messages around the current Syria crisis to its communities for some time.

“It is important all members of our community have the trust and confidence to speak to the police.”

Badat was giving evidence in the New York terrorism trial of Osama Bin Laden’s son-in-law, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith when he revealed his mother persuaded him to back out of the shoe-bomb mission.

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