Six people have been arrested on suspicion of being members of banned far-right group National Action. Counter-terrorism police swooped on suspects in early morning raids on Wednesday.
The five men from Cambridge, Banbury, Wolverhampton, Leicester and Stockport – and a woman from Banbury – were detained by police. All six are being held at a police station in the West Midlands.
Police said the suspects, aged between 21 and 37, were detained under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act. A number of properties are being searched in connection with the arrests.
In a statement, West Midlands Police said the arrests were “pre-planned and intelligence led,” and insisted there is no threat to public safety.
National Action became the UK’s first-ever neo-Nazi terrorist group to be banned in the UK when the government outlawed it in December 2016. The banning of the group makes it a crime to be a member or supporter, punishable by a maximum of ten years in prison.
The ban came after the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox, who was shot and stabbed to death by far-right extremist Thomas Mair. National Action had praised the murder.
According to anti-fascist campaigners Hope not Hate, National Action has been operating under various new names in order to evade authorities.
Last year, three alleged neo-Nazis and National Action members – including two British soldiers – appeared in court accused of joining a terrorist group. A provisional trial date has been set for March 5, 2018.