Police monitor threats against migrants as far-right extremists call for ‘more firebombings’

Exclusive: Extremists have been celebrating Dover terrorist Andrew Leak as a ‘hero’ and vowed his attack would be ‘just the start’

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Editor
Tuesday 15 November 2022 12:27 GMT
Firebombing of immigration processing centre in Dover declared terrorist incident

Counter-terror police are monitoring threats towards migrant reception centres and hotels, as far-right extremists celebrate the Dover firebombing and call for more attacks.

Security at sites housing asylum seekers has been reviewed following a terror attack targeting a processing facility for small boats on 30 October, which police said was driven by extreme right-wing ideology.

Andrew Leak, 66, threw homemade incendiary devices at Western Jet Foil from his car, before driving to a nearby petrol station and killing himself.

It came after an alleged attempted terror attack targeting lawyers who represent small boat migrants in September 2020, which awaits trial, and a separate prosecution of a teenage neo-Nazi who threatened to attack asylum seekers in Dover with Molotov cocktails.

“I am planning an attack against the Dover coast where every Muslim and refugee has been given safety,” he wrote in an online far-right forum. “If you’re interested tell me now.”

The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted encouraging terrorism and possesing a manual including instructions on constructing homemade firebombs last year but was not jailed.

A spokesperson for UK Counter Terrorism Policing told The Independent officers were working “around the clock to monitor and assess any new, emerging or potential terrorist threats”.

Records of Leak’s activity on Facebook and Twitter show that he supported far-right groups and had a strong interest in migration in the English Channel, following activists who chronicle small boat arrivals.

In a tweet posted an hour before his attack, Leak vowed to “obliterate them” and burn Muslim and children alive.

The Independent has documented numerous posts celebrating Leak and threatening more violence on far-right channels on the Telegram encrypted messaging app.

Several followers of prominent extremist figures and groups called him a “hero” and a “legend”, who “shows that one of us [white people] has got a spine”.

“This is just the start,” one man wrote, with another adding: “The hotels will be catching fire at some point too.”

Several extremists lamented that Leak had not injured or killed any asylum seekers and called his suicide, which will be investigated by an upcoming inquest, a “tragedy”.

“Time for Patriots to RISE UP,” read one post, and another said: “Let this be the beginning of the push back, it's about time.”

In a video posted online five days after the attack, the leader of the Patriotic Alternative white nationalist group blamed “ the establishment” and claimed the firebombing was being “weaponised against indigenous Brits”.

Mark Collett, a former British National Party activist, said the “only real victim here is the man who carried out this act”.

Mr Collett said he disavowed terrorism but claimed that people were becoming “more likely to take this unfortunate dark route” because they were being “repressed by the globalist anti-white system”.

Small boat crossings in the English Channel have become a focus for British far-right groups, who vocally backed Suella Braverman’s description of an “invasion” in the House of Commons a day after Leak’s attack.

Many have been filming hotels used to house asylum seekers, and on Saturday around a dozen members of Britain First went to the Manston processing centre in Kent.

Activists held up British flags and a banner saying “close down the migrant centre”. Leader Paul Golding filmed himself being moved back from gates by guards and called the security operation “vast”.

The former military base, which receives all migrants initially received at Western Jet Foil, recently held 4,000 people but numbers were reduced following reports of illness, unrest, overcrowding and potential unlawful detention.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The security and safety of our sites and those within our care has always been taken extremely seriously and remains our upmost priority, and since the shocking incident at Western Jet Foil we have reviewed our risk assessments and taken steps to protect those in our care.

“A police investigation into the incident at Dover is still ongoing and it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

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