Five suspected far-right extremists were arrested by counter-terror detectives today after race-hate material was posted online.
They are being held after raids by the North-East Counter Terrorism Unit in North Tyneside, County Durham, Merseyside, Barnsley and London.
A spokeswoman for the unit said: “All five men have been arrested on suspicion of offences under the Public Order Act, publishing or distributing written material which may stir up racial hatred.”
The arrests are being linked with a splinter group of the English Defence League known as the North West Infidels.
A 43-year-old from North Tyneside, a 46-year-old from County Durham, an 18-year-old from Birkenhead, Merseyside, a 21-year-old from Barnsley and a 56-year-old from Holloway, north London, are being held.
A spokeswoman said: “They have been taken to local police stations for interviewing.
”Searches have now begun at the addresses, together with searches at an address in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, and Leeds, West Yorkshire
On a North West Infidels Facebook page, a message posted at lunchtime said: “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.”
Elsewhere on the page, there was a lengthy message explaining “Who are the Infidels of Britain?”.
It said the group was an alliance of “right wing nationalists, patriotic and loyalist groups from different parts of the UK”.