03/01/2018 10:00 GMT | Updated 03/01/2018 10:34 GMT

National Action: Police Arrest Five Men And A Woman Over Suspected Links To Banned Terror Group

The accused range in age from 21-37.

Six people have been arrested on suspicion of being members of the banned terrorist group, National Action.

West Midlands Police announced on Wednesday that five men and a woman had been apprehended as part of a “pre-planned operation”. 

The men are a 26-year-old from Cambridge, a 21-year-old from Banbury, Oxfordshire, a 28-year-old from Wolverhampton, a 26-year-old from Leicester and a 24-year-old from Stockport.

At 37, the arrested woman, from Bradbury, was the oldest of the group. 

National Action
Six people have been arrested over alleged links to banned group National Action, pictured above before they were banned as a terrorist organisation

The five men are being held in West Midlands, while the woman is being detained in a station outside the force area, police said.

The group are held on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000; namely on suspicion of being a member of a proscribed organisation (National Action) contrary to section 11 of the Terrorism Act.

Officers said the arrests were all pre-planned and intelligence led and there was “no threat to the public’s safety”.

In September last year police arrested 11 members of the group following raids across England and Wales and the following month the group’s reported leader, Christopher Lythgoe, was charged with encouragement to commit murder, relating to Labour MP Rosie Cooper. The 31-year-old was arrested along with five other men.

Serving members of the British Army have been among those arrested for alleged links to the group.

National Action was banned as terrorist organisation by Home Secretary Amber Rudd in December 2016 after the group championed the killer of MP Jo Cox amid a series of other offensive stunts.

They were the first far-right group banned as a terrorist organisation since the Second Would War.

In announcing the ban, under the Terrorism Act 2000, Rudd said: “I am clear that the safety and security of our families, communities and country comes first. So today I am taking action to proscribe the neo-Nazi group National Action. This will mean that being a member of, or inviting support for, this organisation will be a criminal offence.

“National Action is a racist, antisemitic and homophobic organisation which stirs up hatred, glorifies violence and promotes a vile ideology, and I will not stand for it. It has absolutely no place in a Britain that works for everyone.”

The terror ban meant that being a member of or inviting support for the organisation is a criminal offence, carrying a sentence of up to 10 years’ imprisonment.