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Monday, 6 December 2010


Published on Fri Dec 05, from the Eastbourne Herald

A CLEANER from Eastbourne's Mosque has appeared in a London court on a terrorism charge.

Algerian-born Nourreddinne Mouleff, 36, of Pevensey Road, opened a number of bank accounts using a fake French identification account, it is claimed.

He then allegedly bought goods before claiming cash refunds, Bow Street Magistrates Court heard.

The North African is charged under Section 57 of the Terrorism Act which relates to being in possession of articles in connection with an act of terrorism.

Mouleff is accused of raising cash for the purposes of terrorism and charged with conspiring with others to defraud banks of large sums of money.

Five other suspects arrested in Eastbourne are still being questioned by police in relation to the fraud. They are North African and in their mid 20s. Two are from Hastings, two from London, the other from Eastbourne.

All six arrests were the result of a three-day secret investigation into large-scale cheque and credit card fraud at the Pevensey Road flat.

District Judge Timothy Worman remanded Mouleff in custody to appear at the Old Bailey for a preliminary hearing next Wednesday (December 10).

Bearded Mouleff, wearing grey trousers and an orange sweatshirt, was aided by an interpreter through the hearing.

Five feet three inches tall, he was dwarfed by two burly security officers.

Police say there is no connection in this case and last week's anti-terrorism raids in Manchester, Birmingham and Gloucester. Officers said explosives were found in the Gloucester raid.

But there have been reports that police have been investigating links between the suspects and al Qaida, the group behind the September 11 and Bali bombings.

Assistant Chief Constable Nigel Yeo said, 'At this stage there is no connection with the arrests madew under the Terrorism Act elsewhere in the country.

'This is a Sussex police operation but we have been working closely with officers from the Metropolitan's anti-terrorist branch.'

Under the Terrorism Act, suspects can be held for questioning for up to seven days before they are charged.

Mouleff appeared before Bow Street magistrates on Wednesday.

EASTBOURNES new police chief has tried to reassure the public about the threat of terrorism in the town.

The news that a cleaner at the town's mosque in Ashford Square had been charged with a terrorism offence came as a bombshell to residents.

But Chief Inspector Peter Mills claims that there is 'no specific terrorism issue that the town need have concerns about.'

In an open letter, he says he has met with the black and ethnic minority to discuss the situation and the effect it might have on their community.

The letter runs as follows:

'Many of you will be aware of the recent six arrests in Eastbourne for alleged offences under the Terrorism Act.

'Yesterday (Wednesday) a man living in Eastbourne from Pevensey Road was charged under section 57 of the Act which is connected with the possession of certain articles which give rise that the possession was for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism. He was additionally charged with a fraud based offence.

'He appeared at Bow Street Court today which is standard in the UK for persons suspected of such offences.

'Another five people remain in custody under the Terrorism Act under Section 17 which basically means that they have been suspected of involvement in the attempt to finance an act of terrorism.

'I have undertaken a community impact assessment in relation to the arrests and its effect particularly on the Black and Minority Ethnic community of the town and have been in close contact with both the investigation and opinion formers from the Black and Minority Ethnic community. I continue to meet with them.

'As a result of these arrests and all other enquiries there is no specific terrorism issue that Eastbourne as a town need have concerns about. It was raised by the business community with me last night and I gave them a similar response.

'Operation Confront, an unconnected operation, and its increased visibility continues to operate in the town with road checks and highly visible officers. This will continue beyond Christmas so should give increased public confidence.'

EASTBOURNE MP Nigel Waterson is to table questions in the House of Common about Mouleff.

The Tory MP says the government has serious questions to answer about the North African and how he came to be living in the the town.

He also wants to know what Mouleff's status is and whether he is an asylum seeker.

Mr Waterson said, 'This man's presence in Eastbourne raises a number of serious issues that ministers must answer.

'I want to know how this man came to be in the country. Is he a British citizen? Is he an asylum seeker who has been given leave to stay in the UK? Or is he a failed asylum seeker?

'Ministers, who notoriously seem unable to answer questions about asylum seekers in Eastbourme and Sussex, must come up with clear answers to these questions as a matter of urgency.'

Stephen Lloyd, the Liberal Democrats' prospective parliamentary candidate for Eastbourne, said he was 'gobsmacked' by this week's developments.

He said, 'What this does demonstrate clearly is that the war against Iraq is having repercussions at home. Mr Blair stood in the House and said the war would not increase the risk of terrorism in the UK. This is one of many examples that proves that that isn't the case.'

Backing police and the security services, Mr Lloyd added, 'This is only an allegation at present but if the case is proved, then I think the full weight of the law should be brought against anyone living in Eastbourne or other parts of the country who in any way poses a threat to the people of Eastbourne or our national security.'

Ken Kent, chairman of the RAFA club, said 'I am very surprised it's happening in Eastbourne. It's unsual to be happening in a town like Eastbourne.'AS the Herald went to press, police were still questioning the other five terrorism suspects arrested in Eastbourne.

But time was running out as officers had until last (Thursday) night to bring charges against four of them.

Under the Terrorism Act, the police are allowed to question suspects for a maximum of seven days.

Four were arrested on Thursday evening while the other was arrested on Friday morning.

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