- Muslim convert Anthony Small, 33, was arrested in a dramatic dawn swoop
- Detectives believe he is linked to a failed plot to sneak two men through Dover so they could travel to Syria and fight for Islamic State
- Small held British and Commonwealth light middleweight titles
Muslim convert Anthony Small, 33, was arrested in a dramatic dawn swoop yesterday by counter-terrorism detectives
A former British boxing champion is suspected of trying to smuggle jihadists bound for Syria out of Britain in the back of a lorry.
Muslim convert Anthony Small, 33, was arrested in a dramatic dawn swoop yesterday by counter-terrorism detectives.
They believe he is linked to a failed plot to sneak two men through Dover so they could travel to Syria and fight for Islamic State.
Small, who calls himself Abdul Haqq, is an outspoken supporter of Anjem Choudary and has posted provocative videos online.
Choudary and nine others were arrested in September during a crackdown on the notorious hate preacher’s inner circle.
Their passports were confiscated in a bid to stop them leaving the country.
But some of them are now suspected of attempting to flee through the same underworld channels used by illegal immigrants.
The two men found hidden in the lorry were sitting alongside more than a dozen migrants and an Eastern European accused of acting as a fixer.
They were arrested at gunpoint following the discovery of the vehicle on Sunday.
Small and a second man, aged 40, were arrested at their homes in South East London yesterday.
The former boxer was held on suspicion of preparing acts of terrorism while the second man was held on suspicion of conspiracy to possess and supply fraudulent documents.
Three other men were arrested in separate operations in East London and at the port of Dover.
The investigation raises questions about the decision of police and the security service to confiscate passports from potential jihadists who want to travel to Syria.
They have already uncovered evidence of frustrated extremists turning their sights on domestic targets after being stopped from leaving the country.
Choudary has repeatedly said he would like to join Islamic State on the lawless border between Syria and Iraq.
Last month one of his henchmen, Siddhartha Dhar, 31, fled with his family after being asked to give up his passport.
He has since taunted the authorities by posting a photo of himself online holding an AK-47 rifle and his newborn baby.
Small, who held British and Commonwealth light middleweight titles, turned professional in his early 20s under the alias Sugar Ray Clay Jones Jr.
He converted to Islam aged 24 but it was not until around 2010 that he began attending marches protesting against the war in Afghanistan.
Small later announced he was giving up his sport to ‘take on the fight for Muslims’.
In recent months he has posted a series of inflammatory videos online, including one referring to the ‘United Snakes of America’.
He said recently: ‘I cannot be a Muslim and a boxer who makes money from a sport that promotes the evils of alcohol, gambling and free mixing of men and women.’
Last night, a Met spokesman said: ‘All seven men remain in custody.’