TWO alleged far-right extremists from the North-East – including a former regional organiser of the English Defence League – have been arrested on suspicion of posting race-hate material online.

The men were among five suspects arrested by the North-East Counter Terrorism Unit in a series of raids across the UK yesterday.

Paul Duffy, 46, who was appointed regional organiser of the EDL in July 2010, was arrested in Elgin Avenue, Seaham, County Durham, on suspicion of public order offences.

Yesterday, neighbours said they were aware of a police presence at a semi-detached house in the street at about 7am, but did not wish to comment further.

A woman living at the address which was searched told The Northern Echo: “It’s a private matter. I do not wish to discuss it.”

Meanwhile, Darren Yateley, 43, was arrested in Shrewsbury Drive, Backworth, North Tyneside, for the same offences and was later released on police bail.

Both are believed to be linked to the Infidels, a breakaway organisation from the EDL, whose Facebook page describes itself as an alliance of “right-wing nationalists, patriotic and loyalist groups from different parts of the UK”.

Police also made arrests in Merseyside, Barnsley and London.

An 18-year-old man from Merseyside remained in custody last night, as well as a 21-year-old man from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, and a 56-year-old man from Holloway, London. An address in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, was also searched.

A spokesman for the unit said: “We have arrested five people – all males. They were arrested for public order offences under the Public Order Act, for publishing or distributing written material which may stir up racial hatred.

“It relates to posts made on social networking sites. We have completed the searches at all of the addresses.

“Computers and laptops and mobile phones have been recovered and will be examined.

“The 46-year-old male from North Tyneside has been bailed pending further inquiries.

“The other four are still in custody.”

On a North West Infidels Facebook page, a message posted at lunchtime said: “Heads up if you have posted anything you might get in trouble for delete it now...

while you still can... and don’t post anything considered racist folks, you are responsible for your own actions.”