19/04/2012 08:33 BST | Updated 19/04/2012 13:32 BST

North West Infidels: Five Men With 'Links To EDL Splinter Group' Held Over Internet Race-Hatred

Police have arrested five men believed to belong to an EDL splinter group on suspicion of publishing information that may "stir up racial hatred".

"We've made some arreststhis morning in relation to public order offences... publishing information that may stir up racial hatred," a spokesperson for the North East counter-terrorism unit told The Huffington Post UK.

The men are believed to be part of EDL splinter group, the North West Infidels.

The spokesperson confirmed they were looking at "online posts" but did not confirm or deny that they were members of the Infidels group.

The five men are said to be a 43-year-old from North Tyneside, a 46 year-old from Country Durham, an 18-year-old from Merseyside, a 21-year-old from Barnsley, and a 56-year-old from Holloway.

They have been taken to local police stations for questioning. "Searches have now begun at the addresses, together with searches at an address in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, and Leeds, West Yorkshire," the spokesperson added.

So far police have recovered a range of items from the addresses, including computers, laptops and mobile phones. Two men, a 43 year old man from North Tyneside, Northumbria and a 56 year old man from Holloway, London, have been released on bail pending further enquiries.

North West Infidels' apparent leader John 'Snowy' Shaw is not one of the men arrested, police confirmed.

The group describes itself as having different views but being an "alliance of various right wing nationalists, patriotic and loyalist groups from different parts of the UK" who are concerned about multiculturalism being "forced on us."

BNP leader Nick Griffin accused the government of using "naked repression" to stop people commenting on social media, tweeting:

On a North West Infidels Facebook page, a message posted at lunchtime read: "Heads up if you have posted any thing you might get in trouble for delete it now ... while you still can ... and don't post anything considered racist folks you are responsible for your own actions."