A FORMER chicken shop worker from Whitefield has been cleared of plotting a drone strike on the British Army or police.

Hisham Muhammad, 26, was accused of having a stash of weapons and devising a contraption with lollipop sticks to drop a projectile from a small drone.

He was arrested in June 2018 after his landlord became suspicious on seeing knives, a tub of wires and a soldering iron at the defendant's home.

Married father-of-two Muhammad, of Victoria Avenue, denied engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism.

A jury last October failed to reach a verdict and following a retrial at the Old Bailey, Muhammad was found not guilty of preparing for an act of terrorism.

His cousin Faisal Abu Ahmad, 25, who lived with him, was cleared of failing to disclose a plot to authorities.

The court had heard how Muhammad had an interest in weapons and his collection included axes, bear-claws, a tomahawk, a machete, and Japanese "ninja eggs" packed with glass shards and chilli seeds.

The Bermudan defendant, who moved to Britain in 2013, was alleged to have researched the military and police, even visiting Castle Armoury Barracks in Bury, on the pretext of joining up.

He set up a fake escort agency online and made thousands of pounds from men hoping to be set up with a Brazilian woman, jurors were told.

But he denied planning a terror attack in the United Kingdom, either using a drone or knives, saying radical Islam was "barbaric".

The amateur inventor explained that he liked to challenge himself by devising useful household objects, such as a "coconut hammer" and a "fly zapper".

Muhammad admitted making £8,000 from the fake escort agency, but said most of it was sent to his wife and family living in Senegal.

The jury at the Old Bailey deliberated over four days to acquit him of the terror charge.