A concerned local resident captured this exclusive image of the suspicious activity before police raided the building.

A police spokesperson has confirmed that a 5am counter-terrorism raid took place this morning at a Southend building where residents had reported hearing cries of ‘Allahu Akbar’ all day long – some witnesses told Southend News Network that as many as 200 or 300 people could be heard saying it at the same time on multiple occasions every day.

Barry Bretain lives next door to the building in Fairfax Drive, Southend, and he told Southend News Network that the ‘worrying phrase linked with Islamic extremism’ can often be heard around 25 times a day.

He said: ‘Until the weather got warmer recently, we never really heard anything suspicious coming from the building. I used to think that it was just a really big house for a muslim family as I could always see them coming and going at various times during the day – I just assumed that they were an extended family or something like that.’

‘However, in the last few months they have had the windows open a lot as it has been really warm, and at least 25 times per day I can hear hundreds of people saying ‘Allahu Akbar’ in a really loud voice. They all say it together like it is some kind of organised chant and this sent chills down my spine as I have seen films where someone says it and then does something like terrorism or something.’

‘I decided to wait until the next day to think it over before calling the police, but the final straw came the following day when I walked past the building and someone walked up to me and said ‘salaam alaikum.’ I have no idea what this means and I couldn’t get onto Wikipedia at the time because my phone was out of credit. I had to make an educated guess and I decided that it could mean ‘watch your back Englishman,’ so I called the police and reported my concerns to them.’

According to another local resident and shopkeeper, a team of around 50 armed officers raided the building but no arrests were made, and he told our Chief Reporter that he was relieved to see the authorities ‘clamping down’ on this sort of behaviour.

Off-licence owner Glen Corkys added: ‘Some sort of Muslim meeting seems to be going on in there at least five times a day, but none of them ever come in here and buy anything. I think this is a terrible example to set when local communities should be coming together to support local traders. The guy who owns the butchers shop next door has said exactly the same thing and we both feel that enough is enough – the parking situation is a nightmare as well.’

‘This is the exact reason why I voted for Brexit as this whole sorry mess is down to the EU. I can’t really elaborate on this as I don’t completely understand the politics of it all, but this video on YouTube was very persuasive and the guy had a lovely tie on – proper silk and everything.’

A representative from the Southend and Wakering Counter Terrorism Unit wouldn’t give any further details about the raid to Southend News Network. A brief email statement only confirmed that the raid had taken place, and that the unit had an obligation to act upon all intelligence received from members of the public – even in situations where the ‘intelligence isn’t backed up by actual intelligence.’