The temporary worker, Munir Mohammed, and a pharmacist, Rowaida El Hassan were convicted at the Old Bailey Central Criminal court in London, after an investigation led by Counter Terrorism Policing North East and the East Midlands Special Operations Unit. The pair were arrested in December 2016.
Speaking after the convictions, detective chief inspector Paul Greenwood, from the counter terrorism unit, said: “Although we do not know what Mohammed and El Hassan’s exact intentions were, a number of concerning items had already been purchased and the pair had done extensive research regarding making TATP (acetone peroxide) and [the deadly poison] ricin.”
The 36-year-old worker was reportedly employed making sauces for ready meals at the Burton plant.
Greenwood said there was no evidence Mohammed possessed the ricin or that he was guilty of any wrong-doing at the Kerry’s Burton factory. But his interest in ricin and support for the terror group so-called Islamic State meant that he posed a threat to the food plant.
‘He certainly was a risk’
“He certainly was a risk,” Greenwood told the BBC’s Asian Network Reports. “Had the food company known, had we known of this interest in ricin and his link to the food company, we would have taken steps to protect the public and prevent him from continuing his employment there.”
A Kerry Foods’s spokesman confirmed: “Munir Mohammed was a temporary worker at the Kerry Foods Burton plant from May 19 2016 until November 24 2016. We fully cooperated with the police in their investigation at the time of Mr Mohammed’s arrest on December 12 2016 and subsequently.”
While most workers at Kerry Foods’s Burton plant were direct employees, Mohammed was recruited by GI Group, which had provided temporary workers to meet seasonal or marketplace demand requirements for more than 25 years.
‘Recruitment procedures are as robust as possible’
“GI Group goes beyond its legal requirements regarding Right to Work checks and the processes in relation to GI Group employees undertaking work on site at Burton are regularly audited,” said the Kerry spokesman. “We immediately investigated the matter and continue to engage with GI Group to ensure that our recruitment procedures are as robust as possible.”
Gi Group said:“We take our responsibilities regarding temporary worker registration very seriously and comply with all relevant obligations.
“In this particular case, we fully co-operated with the authorities and also commissioned an independent review which concluded that our candidate vetting procedures are rigorous and exceed Home Office guidelines regarding Right to Work checks for both UK and non-UK nationals.”
Meanwhile, listen to the detective chief inspector’s full interview with Asian Network Reports here.