TWO men who set fire to a mosque met at Hester’s Way Library in Cheltenham and went on English Defence League marches together, a court was told.
Clive Ceronne, 37, and Ashley Juggins, 21, were former members of the controversial group before starting the blaze at Masjid-E-Noor in Ryecroft Street, Gloucester.
Gloucester Crown Court was told yesterday the pair had been driving around and shouting abuse at Muslims on the evening before the arson.
Ceronne was jailed for four-and-a-half years and Juggins for three-and-a-half after the pair pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.
Juggins, of Brooklyn Road, in Cheltenham, poured petrol on the mosque’s steps before sparking a rag and setting it alight, causing £3,200 damage.
CCTV stills from the attack
The blaze came 27 days after the death of Drummer Lee Rigby, who was killed in Woolwich.
Prosecutor Peter Coombes said: “Ceronne used to work for P&L Security and was posted to Hester’s Way Library where they met.
“His previous employer said Juggins told people that Ceronne had taken him to an EDL rally and had expressed anti-Muslim views to his boss, but also said he had changed his views now.”
In mitigation, Dermot Clarke said Juggins was first introduced to the EDL marches four years ago, but had since stopped taking part.
Mr Clarke said: “He left after two years because, in his own words, he describes the meetings as degenerating into no more than throwing things at the police, however he remained in contact with Ceronne.
“I would be doing him a disservice if I did not mention the influence. He was unemployed, lacking sophistication and befriended by an older man that perhaps had an agenda.”
Since being remanded in prison, Juggins was said to have attended church three times a week.
The court was told Ceronne of Redwood Close in Gloucester had been the county’s divisional officer of the New British Union.
The group is said to be styled on Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists, which was banned in the 1940s, after it aligned itself with Nazi Germany.
On its website, Ceronne claimed to have been involved in “far right cults, including the EDL”.
Joe Maloney, for Ceronne, said: “He has had time to reflect on his beliefs, which is not to say he will change his beliefs, drastically over- night.”
“Two men have admitted an arson attack on a Gloucester mosque.
Clive Michael Ceronne, 37, and Ashley Henry Juggins, 20, both pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.
The pair attempted to set fire to the Masjid-E-Noor in the city’s Ryecroft Street on June 18 this year.
Ceronne, a former security guard of Redwood Close, in Gloucester and Juggins, of Brooklyn Road in Cheltenham will be sentenced at Gloucester Crown Court on November 18.
The court previously heard the pair had bought lager, vodka and a petrol can of fuel from a London Road garage before using the fuel to set fire to the place of worship by owned by the Muslim Welfare Association.
A passer-by saw the fire and helped put it out, before severe damage was caused.
The attack came in the wake of the death of Drummer Lee Rigby.
The pair both denied a more serious charge of arson with intent to endanger life.
Prosecutor Peter Combe said this was acceptable to the crown when Juggins appeared via video link and Ceronne in the dock.
Judge Jamie Tabor QC ordered a pre-sentence report on the pair prior to their return to the same court next month.
He said: “You have both pleaded guilty to a very serious offence.
“I will however order a pre-sentence report, but I make it quite plain I am certainly not tying the hands of myself or anyone else by doing so.”
Ex-soldiers among Midland members looking to former Smethwick MP Oswald Mosley as spiritual leader
Oswald Mosley (centre) with members of his British Union of Fascists including (left) William Joyce who later became Lord Haw Haw
A sinister new group of right-wing extremists is trying to revive Oswald Mosley’s notorious British Union of Fascists party.
Calling themselves the 21st Century Blackshirts, members look up to former Smethwick MP and Nazi sympathiser Mosley as their spiritual leader.
In the 1930s Mosley’s British Union of Fascists aligned itself with Nazi Germany and Italian dictator Benito Mussolini while its paramilitary footsoldiers, dubbed the Blackshirts, terrorised Britain’s Jews.
Now far-right defectors from groups like the British National Party and English Defence League have resurrected the party re-labelling it the New British Union party (NBU)
Set up in January, the party has named 54 “officers” from across Britain on its web page which has already had more than 50,000 hits.
A Sunday Mercury investigation has discovered that its top two Midland representatives are former soldiers while other district officers in the region include failed local election candidates for the British National Party.
Others have links to the English Defence League including the party’s Gloucestershire Divisional Officer Clive Cerrone who is currently awaiting trial accused of setting fire to a local mosque last month.
The party website also lists representatives in 11 nations including the US, Australia, Italy and Poland.
One banner on the site reads: “Some people are fascist. Get over it.”
It adds: “New British Union. 21st Century Blackshirts Marching On For Britain.”
Members are encouraged to dress in paramilitary blackshirt style uniforms, like the type worn by fascist Mussolini’s private army during his authoritarian rule.
Their site — which shows Mosley’s fanatical followers performing the stiff-armed fascist salute — boasts: “This will be an historic occasion, the first official Blackshirt meeting to be held since the Second World War, heralding the return of a registered fascist political party in Britain.”
The NBU lists its Birmingham Divisional Officer as former RAF Gulf and Kosovo war veteran Ian Starks, who was the unsuccessful BNP candidate for Sheldon Heath in last year’s local elections.
The 45-year-old, from Sheldon, Birmingham, lists Paganism and Wicca as pastimes on his Facebook page.
The party’s West Bromwich officer Jennifer Howells has also stood for election under the BNP banner in local government elections.
She sought torepresent Sandwell in 2010.
And its Worcestershire officer Brian Meaker, who strikes a menacing pose handcuffed in an Gutanamo Bay style orange jumpsuit, is a life-time member of the BNP.
The NBU’s latest recruit is its Walsall officer Matthew Moloney, a 35-year-old dad-of-two and former soldier with the Royal Monmouthshire engineers regiment.
He claims to be a carpenter for Birmingham City Council, but a council spokesman said he was not directly employed.
The BNP has tried to distance itself from the fascist party saying it was a “nondescript sideshow.”
Deputy BNP leader Simon Darby said: “We don’t condone or have official links with any other parties and I think you’ll find such splinter groups rise and then break up very quickly.”
A key NBU member is former ‘Policies Officer’ Matthew Gill, a charity worker and Doctor Who fan, who heads the Warwickshire chapter.
On the NBU website an article on immigration in Gill’s name reads: “There are those who will say there is nothing wrong with massive Third World immigration so long as they learn the language, adapt to the local culture and so on. This presupposes that the human being can be intentionally colour blind.”
Gill’s blog posting adds: “The truth, of course, is that even if a Kenyan can speak perfect English, even if he wears English clothes, uses English slang and attends the C of E, none of that makes him English!”
The party claims not to be racist or anti-semitic but a careful look at its constitution reveals a bitter hatred of multiculturalism and non-white immigrants.
Its immigration policy states that immigrants “… must be prepared to totally leave their past nationality behind them. Racially and ethnically they must be compatible with the majority population where they wish to settle.
“This does not mean being exactly the same, but that they are at least similar enough that their assimilation will be smooth, and have no negative effects on the native population.
“The same goes for religious beliefs. They must be the same as the majority or at least similar enough so as to have no problem adopting the established values and moral code of the nation.”
“Differences cause problems and excessive diversity leads to nothing but trouble.” It adds: “Freedom of religion would not be absolute. All ties with the former homeland of the immigrant will be cut.
“Multiculturalism does not work and only ruins all cultures involved.”
The party takes a bizarre stance on education policies simply stating: “One goes to school to learn, not play and not have subsidized orgies.”
Gerry Gable, from anti-fascist magazine Searchlight said that the NBU was a sinister organisation with many members claiming to be Pagans or followers of Satanic and Wiccan cults.
He said: “Mosley was a Nazi sympathiser and he eventually changed the name of his party to reflect Hitler’s influence and called it the British Union of Fascists and National Socialists.
“This new incarnation of his notorious Blackshirts is clearly attracting the dregs from other far-right groups but I don’t think it will survive.”
Gary Fiennes-Hastings, editor of far-right monitor website EDL News added: “Time and time again groups try and reform the fascist ideology but this country has a long and proud tradition for fighting fascism.
“We must never forget that our grandparents and great grandparents gave their lives fighting the ideology that these people are promoting.”
The Sunday Mercury has contacted each of the Midland members identified as NBU members to ask them to comment on their views.
But each one directed us to their head office. Last night Gary Raikes, NBU founder – who has taken on Mosley’s preferred title of Leader and signs off his correspondence with ‘Hail Britannia’ – told the Sunday Mercury that he was in favour of racial segregation.
He said: “We do not imply that only people from Caucasian Christian origin would be welcome to the UK, we state that whatever their racial origin it would be better if they settled in areas that are made up in the majority of that origin, black, white or whatever.
“Officers can belong to whichever political party they wish at this time.
“We have no official links to either EDL or BNP, both failed movements, in our opinion, and have nothing to offer British Fascism.”
MOSELEY – A MAN CAPTIVATED WITH ITALIAN DICTATOR MUSSOLINI
Sir Oswald Mosley was born into an aristocratic family in 1896 and grew up in Staffordshire before serving as a Labour MP for Smethwick in the 1920s.
In January 1932 he visited Benito Mussolini and was so captivated with the Italian dictator and his National Fascist Party that later that year he founded his own British Union of Fascists, BUF.
In 1938 Mussolini passed laws barring Jews from universities and many professions and later when Germany occupied parts of the country, more than 7,000 Jews were deported to Nazi concentration camps, with many dying at Auschwitz.
Mosley returned to England to organise marches policed by his paramilitary Blackshirts and the government was sufficiently concerned to pass the Public Order Act 1936, which banned political uniforms and quasi-military style organisations.
An MI5 report from a British Union of Fascists rally in the 1930s revealed: “The significant feature was to express determination to defeat the enemy (The Jew) if not by the ballot box then by other and more drastic means, a sentiment cheered to the echo.”
In May 1940 the BUF was banned by the Government, effectively killing off the movement, and Mosley was interned for most of the rest of the war.
On his release an undeterred Mosley continued to campaign on an anti-immigration platform, calling for forced repatriation of Caribbean immigrants as well as a prohibition upon mixed marriages.
His papers are housed at the University of Birmingham’s Special Collections.
POLICE ALERTED TO MOSQUE THREATS
Police are investigating a Midland man after the Sunday Mercury alerted officers to threats he made against local mosques.
Peugeot worker John Molloy, from Coventry, told followers on the English Defence League Facebook website that he would “guarantee a few will get bombed tonight” just days after the Woolwich terror attack last month.
He went on to urge people to “Take to the streets” in support of English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson after he was arrested.
Robinson has been released on police bail after he was arrested on suspicion of obstructing police in London.
Mr Molloy, from Wyken, could not be contacted for comment last night.
A West Midlands Police spokesman said: “ The Force Intelligence Department will assess the content of the files you have sent to us and take any appropriate action.”
Following on from an arson attack on a mosque in Gloucester on Tuesday morning, two local men have been charged with conspiracy to commit arson and remanded in custody. It’s interesting to note that Clive Ceronne, one of the accused, is a known far-right activist in the local area. He was previously involved with the Gloucester English Defence League ‘division’ as well as setting up and administrating the ‘South West Infidels’ Facebook page. Ceronne is also listed as the Gloucestershire ‘officer’ for the New British Union, you can find out more about him and his fellow fascists here.
A CHELTENHAM man has been charged with conspiracy to commit arson following a “hate crime” at a mosque.
Ashley Henry Juggins, 20, of Brooklyn Road will appear before magistrates today following the blaze in Gloucester.
Clive Michael Ceronne, 37, of 23 Redwood Close in Gloucester faces a similar charge after an attack on Masjid-E-Noor in Ryecroft Street in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
A number of mosques across the country have been targeted since Drummer Lee Rigby was killed in Woolwich last month.
Police confirmed yesterday it was being treated as a hate crime after CCTV appeared to show someone pouring petrol around the door and igniting it with a lit rag.
Officers initially believed a person could have been engulfed by the flames, but later stated no one was thought to be injured in the fire.
The fire left minimal damage to the place of worship’s doors after a Good Samaritan, believed to be a Polish taxi driver, leapt from his car and tackled the flames with a fire extinguisher.
Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue service confirmed flames were out when they arrived on the scene, just before 1am.
Since the attack police have been talking to the Muslim community in Cheltenham to allay fears. They have vowed to step up patrols around Gloucester’s mosques and said the two in Cheltenham were on current routes.
One Cheltenham Muslim, who only wanted to be identified as Mohamed, said any hate crime was sad for the community.
He said: “Many of us have been worried about reprisals since Lee Rigby, which was condemned by us all here in Cheltenham. Gloucestershire generally has a welcoming attitude to everyone and that is one of the reasons I live here. But something like this can make a community feel isolated.
“Personally the way to combat any kind of hate crime is by having a ‘business as usual’ approach and not being beaten, but it is tremendously hard when things like this happen.”
The Gloucester Muslim Welfare Association said in a statement: “The mosque will continue and remains committed to work towards promoting peace, tolerance and community cohesion across all sections of the community.”
Chief Inspector for Gloucester Richard Burge said: “Gloucestershire has a wonderfully diverse and welcoming community and people will be upset and angry about this.”
The pair who have now been charged were remanded in custody last night following their arrest.”