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'Neo-Nazi' plotted terrorist attacks from Banff home

Connor Ward, 25, gathered bomb components and kept list of Scottish mosques.

Connor Ward and some of the weapons found.
Connor Ward and some of the weapons found. STV

An 'exemplary Neo-Nazi' gathered components to make bombs and kept a list of Scottish mosque addresses.

Connor Ward, 25, acquired hundreds of ball bearings which could be used in pipe bombs and rocket tubes which could be used to fire projectiles.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard he also had a stun gun, hundreds of knuckle dusters, knives and metal bars.

He was found guilty on Wednesday after a five-week trial of breaching the Terrorism Act 2000 and the Terrorism Act 2006.

Detectives who searched Ward's home in Banff, Aberdeenshire, found that he had acquired a mobile phone signal jamming device and a machine for picking up hidden bugs.

They also discovered that Ward had downloaded tens of thousands of documents on firearms and survival techniques. The files also contained extreme right-wing propaganda and military tactics.

Detectives also found a Google Maps-style file containing the postal addresses of five Islamic places of worship in the Aberdeen area on Ward's computer.

They also found that Ward, who told jurors that he thought Hitler had made mistakes, had started to compose a book called "Combat 18 British Mosque Address Book".

The court heard that Combat 18 is the name of an extreme British right-wing paramilitary group.

Prosecution lawyer Richard Goddard told the court that Ward had been previously jailed for three years at the High Court in Edinburgh on another explosives charge.

Mr Goddard also told the court that Ward was given a 22-month jail sentence in April 2015 for possessing a stun gun.

He was also convicted in July 2016 of having an "improvised" knife whilst serving that prison sentence and given another 18 months.

In August 2016, the court heard how Ward was sentenced to another four months in custody for assaulting somebody whilst in custody.

On Wednesday, he was convicted of two charges of preparing terror attacks.

Ward is expected to be sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow in April.

Police Scotland reaction

Detective Chief Superintendent Gerry Mclean, of Police Scotland's Organised Crime and Counter Terrorism Unit, said: "Following Ward's arrest a vast amount of material was seized by officers who invested a significant amount of time into quantifying the scale of Ward's interest in terrorism.

"Although he operated alone, the weapons, manuals and downloads he possessed had the potential to cause serious harm.

"While we may never know the full extent of Ward's intentions thanks to the early intervention of police, we do know that we cannot underestimate the dangerous nature of any behaviour or activity linked to terrorism.

"These acts are very rare, not least in the North East of Scotland, and while concerted action takes place every day alongside our partners to protect the public it is crucial that communities remain vigilant."

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