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EDL leader jailed over passport

The leader of the English Defence League - which is based in Luton - has been jailed for 10 months after admitting using someone else's passport to travel to the United States.

Stephen Lennon, 30, pleaded guilty to possession of a false identity document with improper intention at Southwark Crown Court in London. The court heard that Lennon, who had previously been refused entry to the US, used his friend's passport to travel to the country in September.

Lennon used a passport in the name of Andrew McMaster to board a flight from Heathrow to New York, but was caught out after his fingerprints were taken by customs officials.

Stephen Lennon Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/

He left the airport, entering the US illegally, and stayed one night, travelling back to the UK the following day using his own legitimate passport - which bears the name Paul Harris.

The court heard that is the name that appears on the EDL leader's passport, although he uses aliases.

Sentencing the 30-year-old, Judge Alistair McCreath, told him:

"I am going to sentence you under the name of Stephen Lennon although I suspect that is not actually your true name, in the sense that it is not the name that appears on your passport.

You knew perfectly well that you were not welcome in the United States. You tried before and you had not got in, and you knew the reason for that - because, rightly or wrongly, the US authorities do not welcome people in their country who have convictions of the kind that you have.

I am told that, by whatever means, you slipped away from the US authorities, got into the country and then very rapidly - and understandably so - got out of it."

He said Lennon had used his own passport to get out of the US, adding: "You did so, I am quite sure, in order to avoid the consequences that would have fallen upon you had you been caught by the authorities in America."