A Wiltshire man has been convicted of being a member of a banned extreme right-wing neo-Nazi group. Ben Raymond, aged 32, from Swindon, was today (30 November) found guilty at Bristol Crown Court following a four-week trial. The guilty verdicts were returned on the charge of Raymond being a member of the proscribed group National Action and two charges of possessing terrorism material. Raymond was the co-founder of the proscribed group National Action which was formed in 2013 and in December 2016 it became the first right-wing organisation to be banned by the government since World War II.
At the time of the group’s formation, Raymond was an undergraduate studying politics. During the trial, the group was described as “unapologetically racist, anti-Semitic and aggressive” as well as “secretive and paranoid”. They used encrypted apps and messaging platforms with high levels of security to share information and Raymond would routinely wrap his phone in tin foil to block out the signal. He was described as the public face of the group; giving media interviews and setting out their ethnic cleansing agenda. He was also the point of contact with other neo-Nazi groups in Eastern Europe, Norway and the US.
Detectives from Counter Terrorism Policing West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit (CTP WM CTU) led the investigation into Raymond which followed a number of trials in recent years convicting several individuals imprisoned for National Action membership as well as other offences. Head of CTP WM CTU, Detective Chief Superintendent Kenny Bell said: “My detectives have been successful in bringing members of this group to justice over the last few years, many of whom have received lengthy jail sentences. “As a result of these investigations, we saw a significant increase of right-wing referrals to our Prevent programme. “Today’s verdict is a significant part of the chapter in dismantling this banned neo-Nazi group as Raymond was its co-founder. “Extremists use this kind of ideology to create discord, distrust and fear among our communities and we strive to counter this. I would encourage people to report hate crime to us and it will be taken seriously.”
Raymond will be sentenced on Friday.