A member of a new political group formed by a far right activist in Skye has lost his shotgun licence because of his alleged involvement with Patriotic Alternative.
Anthony Burrows was part of a group of far right activists which broke away from Patriotic Alternative earlier this year to form Homeland – a white nationalist group led by Kenny Smith, a former British National Party member from Scotland.
Burrows lost his gun licence this week at Derby Crown Court. The court heard he allegedly posted a photograph of Adolf Hitler and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke on Twitter, in response to being asked, “describe your politics with four people”.
Another post from the same Twitter account – named Anglofolk – showed what appeared to be mass graves of Muslim people, and it called people who held Islamic religious views a derogatory name.
Derbyshire Live reported that Burrows held a shotgun licence for a number of years. But on 26 August 2021, Special Branch contacted Derbyshire Police about Burrows, which led the force to review his suitability to safely hold a shotgun certificate.
On the same date, officers seized the certificate and three shotguns from Burrows’ home address and revoked the shotgun certificate on 1 September 2021.
Burrows appealed and denied being a regional organiser for Patriotic Alternative. He said a number of other people had access to the Anglofolk Twitter account. But in cross-examination, Burrows acknowledged it was his account, and then said “perhaps he did post on it”, was “unable to remember everything” and that the posts were “just silly jokes”.
Giving evidence, Burrows said when he used pictures of Hitler in a tweet, describing him as “Uncle A”, it was “nothing more than internet tomfoolery”.
Dismissing his appeal, judge Jonathan Bennett reportedly said: “As our overview of the appellant demonstrates, as exemplified in some of the highlighted posts, he had given us significant concerns coupled with sharing links to terrorist literature and manifestos. Consequently, we take the view that the police were quite correct to act as they did when his shotguns were removed in August 2021 and his licence was revoked.
“Although the appellant asserted in his evidence that he was no longer associated with Patriotic Alternative we had issues as to his credibility. We were thus satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that the appellant demonstrated views that were sympathetic towards violence aimed at non-white ethnic or religious groups, and his reckless provision of links to potential terrorist manifestos and literature were such that he was a danger to the peace.”
Joe Mulhall, director of research at HOPE not hate, welcomed Derby Crown Court’s decision and said: “People with dangerous far right views who are part of extreme groups like Homeland and Patriotic Alternative should never be allowed access to weapons. There have been a number of examples in recent years from the UK and around the world that demonstrate the tragic consequences of what can happen when weapons are in the hands of far right individuals.”
Burrows told The Ferret he was being “encouraged to make an appeal at the High Court”, but there are “financial considerations” which may prevent this.
He added: “I’ve never been convicted of a crime, never mind investigated, questioned, cautioned or arrested over any criminal activity; I even have a clean driving licence. I am an upstanding member of my community, people who know me have already been in touch outraged against this smear on my good character.
“This is a hatchet job from a politically motivated police force and judiciary. The woke establishment are persecuting those who oppose them politically, just as we have seen with Nigel Farage and Lawrence Fox who are (sic) even been denied access to banking services.”
Burrows reportedly left Patriotic Alternative in April, supporting criticisms by Kenny Smith of the far right group’s leadership. The breakaway faction which formed Homeland argued PA’s leadership had not made sufficient progress towards becoming a serious political movement.
Derbyshire-based Burrows was regional organiser for Patriotic Alternative East Midlands, according to the anti-fascist magazine, Searchlight.
Earlier this month The Ferret revealed that the UK Government raised concerns that Homeland had applied to become a political party.
Last November The Ferret reported that Smith – chairman of Homeland – had pleaded guilty to firearms offences at Portree Sheriff Court, Skye. He had been charged with possessing excess ammunition, contrary to the Firearms Act 1968. Smith was admonished.
Patriotic Alternative has been asked to comment.
Smith did not comment but sent a statement on behalf of Burrows after we contacted Homeland.
Photo credit: iStock and Naomi_Nichols