Soldier had 'access to young men who could be radicalised' for Neo-Nazi group

Mikko Vehvilainen was jailed alongside Alex Deakin for eight years in April for belonging to banned far-right group National Action


A British Army soldier who had “access to young men who could be radicalised" was convicted for being a member of the illegal neo-Nazi group National Action, it can now be reported.

Mikko Vehvilainen and Alex Deakin were jailed for eight years in April for belonging to the group but restrictions on the reporting of their cases were only lifted on Monday, when Adam Thomas, Claudia Patatas and Daniel Bogunovic were also convicted of belonging to the group.

Vehvilainen, a 34-year-old lance corporal in the army, was arrested by officers from West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit (WMCTU) at his army base in Brecon, Powys in September 2017.

Detective Chief Superintendent Matt Ward said Vehvilainen’s role in group “typified the progress that National Action wanted”.

He said Vehvilainen position as a non-commissioned officer meant he had “access to young men who could be radicalised and recruited into the group. He was an incredibly dangerous individual and a key part of the National Action strategy."

Top: Vehvilainen pictured performing Nazi salute Bottom left: Deakin and right: Vehvilainen's weaponry

Deakin, 24, was also jailed for being a member of the group, as well as distributing extremist publications and two charges of possessing documents likely to be useful to a person preparing to commit an act of terrorism and distribution of a terrorist publication.

Mr Ward said: "Deakin had a long history with the far-right movement, he held the mantle of regional coordinator to help facilitate online communications in the group. He turned it into a well organised cell in the midlands and as a result he’s serving a long sentence.”

The organisation was formed in 2013 and banned by the government in 2016, after the murder of MP Jo Cox.

Mr Ward added: "We have seen many convictions over the past few years in connection with Syria-related terrorism and this work continues apace. But extreme groups such as National Action also have the potential to threaten public safety and security.

"We work tirelessly to counter terrorism. Our absolute priority is to ensure the safety and security of the people who live, work and visit the West Midlands area."

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