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Former Weymouth man is arrested over alleged terror plot
FORMER Weymouth man Richard Dart is understood to be one of six people arrested in London over an alleged terror plot.
The 29-year-old, who is estranged from his Weymouth family, featured in a documentary last year about his sudden change to an extreme Islamist called Salahuddin.
The son of two Weymouth teachers was arrested in a west London street yesterday in a series of police raids in the capital involving armed officers.
The former Mr Dart has been outspoken about British involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He was shown in a TV documentary broadcast last year visiting his home town with a London-based group and preaching in the town centre. The reaction to the programme led to a march in Weymouth organised by the controversial protest group the English Defence League.
Yesterday’s raids were part of a pre-planned MI5 intelligence-led operation by the Metropolitan Police counter-terror command investigating a suspected plot to attack targets in the UK.
Five men and a woman were arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism and are being held at a south-east London police station, police said.
A 21-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman were held at separate residential premises in west London.
Three brothers, aged 18, 24 and 26, were arrested in Stratford.
Police have stressed that there is no suggestion the Olympic Games was the target. Officials believe they are dealing with a plot inspired by al-Qaida ideology.
One of the six was Tasered by police during his arrest in east London, but did not require hospital treatment, a Met spokesman said.
Filmmaker Robb Leech, Mr Dart’s stepbrother, showed his sudden change to a Muslim convert last year in the documentary My Brother the Islamist which was shown on BBC3.
When contacted by the Echo yesterday afternoon as events were unfolding, former tree surgeon Mr Leech said: “I am afraid I can’t confirm his arrest as I am completely in the dark about it.
“At the moment we don’t know that it’s him, we have no communication or connection with him.
“We don’t know he has been arrested. As far as I know, the rest of the family have no idea.”
Mr Dart is understood to be a member of Muslims Against Crusades.
He has spoken out in objection to the money spent on the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Mayor's concerns over March
WEYMOUTH and Portland Mayor Margaret Leicester said she didn’t wish to see another march after yesterday’s arrests.
“We don’t want to see this type of thing happening this close to the Olympics, it’s only weeks away.
“We don’t want to see anything kicking off.
“I’d like to play this down as much as possible, sometimes drawing attention to this is what gets people on the bandwagon.
“We would like to go through the Olympics looking as though we know what we are doing,” she said.