Page last updated at 18:12 GMT, Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Man tried to take gun on aircraft

A man twice been cleared of involvement in alleged bomb plots has been given a suspended sentence for trying to board a plane with a pistol in his suitcase.

Faisal Mostafa, of Stockport, failed to declare a gas-powered pistol and bullet parts checked in at Manchester Airport, Minshull Street Crown Court heard.

Prosecutors did not dispute they were for hunting and he admitted possessing dangerous articles on an aircraft.

Mostafa, 44, was cleared in terrorist bomb plot trials in 1996 and 2002.

He was cleared of conspiracy to cause explosions with intent to endanger life in 2002 at Birmingham Crown Court.

Hunting trip

His co-accused, Moinul Abedin, was jailed for 20 years after being found guilty of planning to cause explosions around the UK.

Mostafa was also cleared at Manchester Crown Court in 1996 of involvement in a terrorist bomb plot campaign after explosives were found at his home.

But he was found guilty of illegally possessing a firearm, sentenced to four years in prison and banned for life from possessing a firearm.

Mostafa has a PhD in chemistry and advises companies how to transport dangerous materials safely, the court heard.

He intended to fly from Manchester Airport to Dubai on 13 July with his wife and three children on an Emirates flight, en route to Bangladesh for a hunting and fishing trip.

Rosemary Fernandez said a baggage scan picked up the outline of the trigger of a firearm in their luggage and it was recalled.

'No danger'

The court heard a search uncovered the pistol, packed in component parts, which has a range of 15ft (4.6m) and is used for target practice. Three boxes of primers were also found.

Ms Fernandez said: "He had purchased the gas pistol as a gift for his brother-in-law in Bangladesh. He said hunting and fishing were his biggest hobbies and he purchased all of the items legally."

She said Mostafa, of Green Pastures, Heaton Mersey, had failed to follow the airline's procedures and make an application to carry dangerous items at least three days before flying.

Judge Peter Lakin said that the pistol and primers were packed safely and were not a danger to anyone.

He sentenced him to 56 days in prison, suspended for two years, ordered him to undertake 100 hours of unpaid work and pay 250 prosecution costs.

Mostafa had faced a maximum sentence of five years.



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