Eight arrested on suspicion of charity fraud and terrorist links

The arrests are made in various parts of the country after police seized £45,000 of cash at the Port of Dover in December

Port of Dover
Port of Dover

Eight men from various parts of England have been arrested as part of an investigation into charity fraud with potential terrorist links to Syria.

Three men from east and south-east London, two from Derby and one each from Dewsbury, Harlow and Huddersfield were arrested and questioned at police stations yesterday after police seized cash in euros, dollars and pounds worth a total of about £45,000 at the Port of Dover on 23 December.

In a statement, detective chief superintendent Chris Hogben of Kent Police said: "We have arrested a number of people across the country as part of an ongoing investigation into the fraudulent use of funds from four UK-based charities."

A spokesman for Kent Police said it could not name the charities involved.

A spokeswoman for the Charity Commission said the regulator was working with the police but was unable to comment further.

Hogben said police would continue "to ensure any large quantities of cash being transported through Kent’s ports is checked against its purpose", and said it was common practice for charities to transfer aid donations electronically.

"We are working with our partners around the country to ensure money intended to help those in need in Syria is not used for criminal activity or in the terrorist arena," he said.

He advised the public to use the Charity Commission’s online register of charities to check whether an organisation was a legitimate registered charity.

Last month, it was revealed that a suicide bomber, believed to be the first Briton to carry out a suicide attack in Syria, had travelled to the country with a charity aid convoy.

In October, the Charity Commission challenged The Daily Telegraph over a story that quoted William Shawcross, the chair of the regulator, as suggesting that millions of pounds of money for the Disasters Emergency Committee's Syria appeal had gone to terrorist organisations. The DEC said this was not the case.

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