22/10/2012 11:37 BST | Updated 02/11/2012 08:07 GMT

'Terror Plotters, Irfan Naseer, Irfan Khalid And Ashik Ali, Planned Suicide Bombs Bigger Than 7/7'

The court heard that Irfan Naseer, Irfan Khalid and Ashik Ali were

Three terrorist plotters led a plan to set off eight suicide bombs which could have been bigger than the July 7 London attacks, a court heard today.

Irfan Naseer, 31, Irfan Khalid and Ashik Ali, both 27, are accused of being "central figures" in the extremist plot, jurors at Woolwich Crown Court were told.

Prosecutor Brian Altman QC said: "The police successfully disrupted a plan to commit an act or acts of terrorism on a scale potentially greater than the London bombings in July 2005 had it been allowed to run its course.

(L-R) Irfan Naseer, Irfan Khalid and Ashik Ali

"The defendants were proposing to detonate up to eight rucksack bombs in a suicide attack and/or to detonate bombs on timers in crowded areas in order to cause mass deaths and casualties."

All the men are accused of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts, which they deny. Naseer is accused of five counts of the offence, Khalid four and Ali three, all between Christmas Day 2010 and September 19 2011.

For Naseer, from Sparkhill, Khalid, from Sparkbrook, and Ali, from Balsall Heath, all in Birmingham, this is alleged to have included planning a bombing campaign, collecting money for terrorism and recruiting others for terrorism.

Naseer and Khalid are also accused of travelling to Pakistan for training in terrorism, and it is alleged that Naseer also helped others to travel to the country for the same purpose.

It is alleged that, while in Pakistan, Naseer and Khalid received training in how to use weapons and how to make bombs and poisons, and made suicide videos while they were there.

They returned to the UK in July 2011, and it is claimed the group then began trying to make home-made bombs, using a flat in Sparkbrook as their base.

In total, 11 men of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin were arrested over the alleged plot, and one woman.

Mr Altman told the jury that the three defendants were "central figures" in the plan, and that they are "jihadists".

He called the trio "senior members of a home-grown terror cell".

Naseer has a degree in pharmacy and it is alleged that this knowledge helped the plotters to try to make explosives.

Mr Altman said: "It was Naseer's knowledge of chemistry, together with his training as a terrorist in Pakistan, that allowed the defendants to experiment in preparing an explosive mixture with a view to constructing a home-made explosive device."

The group are also accused of making bogus charity collections in Birmingham for Muslim Aid as well as a local Muslim centre. But the two causes received only a fraction of the money they had collected, prosecutors say, while the rest was intended to fund the attack plan.

Mr Altman said they were "despicably stealing money from their own community donated to charity".

It is alleged that the group sent four other local men to Pakistan to receive terrorist training - Naweed Ali, 25, and Ishaaq Hussain, Khobaib Hussain and Shahid Khan, all 20.

They are also accused of persuading another two to take part in their plot rather than fighting abroad - Mohammed Rizwan, 33, and Bahader Ali, 29.

Prosecutors claim that Rahin Ahmed, 26, was used as their financier but made a series of bad investments and lost a chunk of their money, and added that Mujahid Hussain, 21, was involved in fundraising.

The court heard that Naseer was recorded saying the July 7 attackers did not do a good enough job because they did not use nail bombs.

Mr Altman said: "Naseer was recorded agreeing with Mohammed Rizwan that July 7 had gone a bit wrong, really that the London bombers had not done more damage because they had failed to put nails on or in their bombs.

"They hadn't done it well enough by not attaching shrapnel to the bombs that they exploded in London on that fatal day in 2005."