A suspected terrorist plot to drive a toy car loaded with explosives under the gates of a Territorial Army base and blow it up has been smashed by police.
Detectives believe the device was to have been detonated in Luton as part of a campaign of terror attacks in Britain.
Evidence of the conspiracy was obtained in a huge surveillance operation and from a hidden bug planted in a car belonging to a suspect.
Undercover police looked on as terrorist suspects apparently used the mountains of Snowdonia as a training ground.
They are accused of taking their lead from copies of the Al-Qaeda magazine Inspire which contains blueprints for home-grown attacks.
The alleged complex 16-month plot emerged as four British Muslim men appeared in court yesterday charged with a raft of terrorist offences.
Zahid Iqbal, 30, is accused of leading a terror network under the instruction of shadowy Al-Qaeda masterminds in Pakistan.
He was joined in the dock by close friends Mohammed Sharfaraz Ahmed, 24, Umar Arshad, 23, and Syed Farhan Hussain, 21.
The gang are accused of working to recruit others to fight Jihad and raising vital funds.
They were arrested at their homes in Luton last week after a multi-million pound investigation that began last year.
The men had been arrested and their homes searched last September but it is understood police needed more time to piece together the plot.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard the men bought firearms and survival equipment, downloaded Al-Qaeda terror manuals and discussed methods and targets.
Prosecutors said two of the men were caught by a hidden bug discussing ‘building and modifying’ improvised explosive devices.
They allegedly referred to ‘clocks, timers, remote controls and wires’ and following instructions in Inspire magazine.
One was overheard saying: ‘You don’t want to be expecting something huge and then something little going off.’ Another said: ‘I was like driving past the TA centre … if you had a small toy car, there’s a small gap under the gate. You could drive it under a vehicle that they use.’
Prosecutor Piers Arnold said there was ‘clear evidence’ that ‘attacks on a Territorial army base was contemplated’.
Ahmed is accused of acting as a recruiter and making an ‘explorative visit’ to Pakistan where he may have undertaken terrorist activities.
Hussain is alleged to have been the quartermaster who specialised in the distribution of funds and provisions.
Counter terrorism police claim they found more than £180,000 had passed through his bank account in the past two years.
When they searched his Luton home, they allegedly found ten After Eight Mint-sized gold bars worth £10,000 and a machine used to steal details from credit cards.
Arshad’s role was allegedly to provide practical guidance on activities abroad, what to wear to fit in and to lead the outdoor training.
All four men are accused of possessing editions of Inspire, a banned publication, and a terrorist book called 44 Ways to Support Jihad.
Ahmed and Arshad were also found with a copy of ’21 Techniques of Silent Killing’, police claim. Arshad is also accused of owning The Al Qaeda Manual.
Hussain is accused of possessing The Book of Jihad and a manual named ‘The Explosives Course Two.’
The four men were remanded in custody at top security Belmarsh Prison and will appear at the Old Bailey next week