Former British boxing champ faces terror‑related charges

Anthony Small arrested after police stop lorry leaving Dover with 20 people hidden in back and uncover weapons plot

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The Independent Online

A former British boxing champion has appeared in court accused of helping two other men to travel to Syria to fight for the terrorist group Isis.

Anthony Small – a former British and Commonwealth boxing champion – was arrested after counter-terrorist police stopped a lorry at Dover on the way out of the country carrying 20 people hidden in the back.

He appeared in court yesterday with two other men accused of preparing acts of terrorism, support of a proscribed organisation and conspiracy to possess false identity documents.

The other two men – Michael Coe, 33, of Central Park Drive, east London, and Simon Keeler, 43, of Solander Gardens, east London – were arrested at Dover on 30 November in the back of the lorry.

Mr Small, who appeared in court with his right arm heavily bandaged, was arrested in a later raid in London after the lorry was stopped at Dover.

The 33-year-old from Sydenham, south-east London, turned professional in his early 20s and became the British and Commonwealth light middleweight champion in 2009. Mr Small, who used the name Sugar Ray Clay Jones Jr in homage to some of his boxing heroes, lost the British title the following year.

Mr Coe and Mr Keeler were alleged to carrying forged documents that had allegedly been prepared by two other men. Zagum Perviaz, 35, of Frinton Road, east London; and Hamzah Safdar, 24, of Cecil Road, east London, were charged with conspiring to possess and produce false identity documents.

A sixth man, found in the back of lorry, also appeared in court yesterday accused over a separate terror-related case. Officers found a document about an alleged multimillion-pound arms shipment after arresting another of the men in the back of the lorry, the court heard.

Detectives found the electronic record on the phone of Abdulraouf Eshati, 28, along with a second document about the hire of a cargo plane, Westminster magistrates’ court was told.

Mr Eshati, of no fixed address, appeared in court for the first time yesterday accused of possession of “two electronic records related to the purchase of ammunition and the hire of a cargo plane” in connection with the commission, preparation and instigation of an act of terrorism. He was also charged with immigration offences.

It is alleged that the order covered a range of different ammunition to the value of $28.5m (£18.2m). It was said to include ammunition for AK-47-type rounds to anti-aircraft munitions. The ammunition was allegedly set to be taken to the Libyan port city of Tobruk. The country has been riven with fighting since the overthrow in 2011 of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.