Four serving members of the army in central England were arrested on suspicion of being part of a neo-Nazi group. Picture: AP Photo/FILE

London — Four serving members of the army were arrested under the Terrorism Act on suspicion of being members of a banned far-right group, British defense officials and police said Tuesday.

The West Midlands Counterterrorism Unit said officers had arrested four people in central England alleged to be members of the neo-Nazi group National Action. 

The group is banned in the U.K., and an official list of banned groups describes it as "virulently racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic."

The force said the men were suspected of "being concerned in the commission, preparation and instigation" of terrorism acts. They were detained as part of a "pre-planned and intelligence-led" operation and there was "no threat to the public's safety."

Britain's Ministry of Defense confirmed that the four men are serving members of the army.

"We can confirm that a number of serving members of the army have been arrested under the Terrorism Act for being associated with a proscribed far-right group," the army said in a statement.

Several properties were raided in connection with the arrests.

Membership or inviting support for National Action is a criminal offense that carries a sentence of up to 10 years. The group has been linked to the murder of Labour lawmaker Jo Cox in 2016.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd banned National Action after an assessment that it was "concerned in terrorism" ahead of the trial of right-wing extremist Thomas Mair, who was convicted in Cox's murder.

Associated Press