Shocked neighbours of Garston man arrested under Terrorism Act saw police carry out 48-hour house search (From Watford Observer)
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Shocked neighbours of Garston man arrested under Terrorism Act saw police carry out 48-hour house search
Shocked neighbours of a Garston man arrested under the Terrorism Act say police carried out a 48-hour search at his house last week.
Tahir Bhatti, 44, of Clarke Way, has been charged with assisting a 26-year-old man from London to commit terrorist acts.
People living in the street said Metropolitan Police showed up at his house “totally out of the blue” in the early hours of last Wednesday morning.
The London force, which deals with counter-terrorism cases aided by Hertfordshire Police officers, remained at the property for about 48 hours.
Witnesses saw computer equipment being taken away and Mr Bhatti’s car get “pulled apart” on the driveway.
One neighbour, who knew Mr Bhatti as “Tony”, said: “It was totally out of the blue. If someone had told me what happened on Wednesday and Thursday, I would have said no way. It’s a bit of a shock. He kept himself to himself, but he said ‘hi’ and ‘bye’.”
The neighbour said at first she didn’t realise Mr Bhatti was the man she’d heard about on the news.
She said: “In the early hours of the Wednesday morning, at about quarter to seven, they knocked the door and went in.
“More and more police arrived and went in all day Wednesday into the evening. And an ambulance turned up. Police were outside the house all night and on Thursday, the police were still there.
“I asked the detective what was going on and he just said it was nothing to worry about and he couldn’t disclose it.
“On Thursday the police pulled the car apart, which was parked on the drive. They took a lot of stuff out of the house – computer bits and things like that. I think at one time there were eight officers in there.”
Mr Bhatti has been charged by the police under the Terrorism Act 2006. His co-accused, Imran Khawaja, of Southall, has been charged with preparing to commit terrorist acts and receiving training in the use of firearms.
He is also charged with attending a place for terrorist training.
Bhatti will appear at the Central Criminal Court on Friday, June 27.
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