Serving soldiers arrested on suspicion of neo-Nazi terror links

National Action is a banned organisation. Credit: ITV News

Four Army servicemen have been arrested on suspicion of preparing acts of terror, after allegedly belonging to a banned neo-Nazi group National Action.

The four men − a 22-year-old from Birmingham, a 32-year-old man from Powys, a 24-year-old from Ipswich and a 24-year-old from Northampton, have been arrested on suspicion of members of a proscribed organisation.

The four are being held at a police station in the West Midlands.

An Army spokesperson said: "We can confirm that a number of serving members of the Army have been arrested under the Terrorism Act for being associated with a proscribed far right group.

"These arrests are the consequence of a Home Office Police Force led operation supported by the Army.

"This is now the subject of a civilian police investigation."

A number of properties are being searched in connection with the arrests which were pre-planned.

West Midlands Police said that there was no threat to the public's safety during the arrests.

National Action is the first extreme right-wing group to be banned under terrorism laws in December 2016.

The proscription means that being a member of or inviting support for the organisation is a criminal offence carrying a sentence of up to 10 years' imprisonment.

An entry for National Action in the official list of proscribed groups says it is a "racist neo-Nazi group" that was established in 2013 and has branches across the UK which "conduct provocative street demonstrations and stunts aimed at intimidating local communities".

The document adds that the group is "virulently racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic".

Its activities and propaganda materials are particularly aimed at recruiting young people, according to the list.

  • Matthew Collins, Head of Research, Hope Not Hate

Hope Not Hate, who have been at the forefront of monitoring National Action, say a number of people from the banned group are facing terrorism charges.

Matthew Collins from Hope Not Hate, told ITV News: "What we are looking at now is quite a sophisticated organisation who are absolutely dedicated and intent on some kind, of what we would describe as preparation for terror.

"We believe there are four, five maybe even as many as six people up and down the country who are already facing charges in relation to the preparation of terrorism or acts relating to terrorism or just extreme vandalism, who are linked and still linked, and still active in the organisation." .