TWO men who referred to themselves as Knights Templar and demonstrated 'an extreme right wing ideology with a particular hatred of Islam' have pleaded guilty at Exeter Crown Court - one of them to a charge under the Terrorism Act - following an incident in Torquay earlier this year.
They were initially arrested on Thursday 3 January following an incident in Lymington Road during which houses were evacuated and local roads cordoned off.
John Michael Roddy, aged 20, and Tobias Daniel Ruth, 18, were subsequently charged and released on police bail.
Roddy, from Lymington Road, was charged with an offence under section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (collecting or making a record of information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism), conspiracy to send malicious messages and conspiracy to cause criminal damage.
Ruth, from Morgan Road in Torquay, was also charged with conspiracy to send malicious messages and conspiracy to cause criminal damage.
Sentencing has been adjourned until September 20.
Following their Court appearance, Detective Inspector Costa Nassaris said: "The two defendants were arrested following good work by local police teams which subsequently led to a thorough investigation by the Major Crime Team and today’s successful outcome.
"The police worked closely with other agencies to ensure any risk was dealt with at the time. Although one of the offences is under the Terrorism Act it is important to maintain a perspective on this and I can reassure people that there was not an immediate risk of serious harm to the general public.
"The two men referred to themselves as Knights Templar and demonstrated an extreme right wing ideology with a particular hatred of Islam but in reality they were not part of a wider more organised group.
"The letters sent to the Mosques caused particular distress and I am glad we are now able to reassure those victims that the offenders have been dealt with. The police will deal robustly with any attempts to spread religious discord within our community."