Sheffield terror suspect described as ‘smashing’ dad

A property in Heeley Green today October 21 2015 where police have arrested a male under the Terrorism Act. Arrests have also been made in the Shiregreen area of Sheffield as well as Batley in West Yorkshire.

A property in Heeley Green today October 21 2015 where police have arrested a male under the Terrorism Act. Arrests have also been made in the Shiregreen area of Sheffield as well as Batley in West Yorkshire.

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Neighbours of a terror suspect arrested in Sheffield have described him as ‘smashing’ and from a ‘nice, lovely family’.

The 40-year-old was arrested in a dawn raid at a property in Heeley Green at 6am on Wednesday.

He remained in custody yesterday on suspicion of preparing to commit an act of terrorism - understood to be a plot to join the terror group in war-torn Syria.

Specialist counter terrorism officers arrested a 36-year-old man in Shiregreen, Sheffield and a 55-year-old woman and 44-year-old man from Batley, West Yorkshire, in coordinated raids.

The others have since been bailed.

The Heeley Green suspect’s neighbours said he was a plumber, who lives with his wife and four young children.

Ernest Balderson, from the same street, described him as a ‘smashing neighbour’ from a ‘nice, lovely family’.

He said he believed the terror suspect was originally from Syria.

He is also believed to have joined an ‘Aid to Syria’ convoy in September 2012, according to a Facebook page for the Aid to Syria group.

Mr Balderston said: “He’s a nice chap and he would always help out clearing the snow and would kick up a fuss if he saw me gardening or decorating.

“I think he’s Syrian originally and I know he’s been over there to deliver clothes and stuff.”

Neighbour Kathryn Smith, who has lived in Heeley Green for 35 years, said the suspect is a ‘lovely man’ and a ‘great dad to his kids’.

She said he had lived in the street for around eight years.

“My kids really love him because he’s such a nice guy,” she added.

“Even when they are playing football outside his house and the ball hits the window he never gets angry.

“He usually just pulls on his shoes and joins in with them and when it snows he’s had snowball fights with them too.

“They’ve all got English Qurans too and when he goes into the city centre and sets up a school to talk about Islam he never harasses anyone, he waits for them to come over to him.

“He is really big part of the street and the community and nobody I know has anything bad to say about him.”

Police officers have searched the terror suspect’s house and seized a silver Ford Transit van and a grey Ford Galaxy parked outside.

South Yorkshire Police chiefs stress there is no evidence to suggest plans for an attack in South Yorkshire.