Villagers have been left ‘shocked and appalled’ after hearing that banned far-right terrorist group National Action used their village hall during a weekend training camp.
The group, which stayed at the village youth hostel during the weekend and famously celebrated the murder of MP Jo Cox last year, was banned by the Home Office in December.
But Youlgrave folk were left dumbfounded when an undercover report by ITV News on Monday (March 20) showed aerial footage of the village followed by scenes shot inside the village hall and youth hostel of the group engaged in self-defence training and chatting among themselves earlier this month.
During the covertly-filmed footage 23 year-old Garron Helm, who was jailed in 2014 for sending an antisemitic tweet to MP Luciana Berger, discussed the murder of MP Jo Cox, saying, “It’s not our fault she was killed. I mean, she did have it coming.”
A villager, who preferred not to be named, said no-one in the village had any idea who the group were and that if they had they would have been outraged.
He added: “People are frankly appalled that these types of individuals have stayed in our village and in our community.
“No-one knew anything about it because lots of outside groups come to the village - it’s a popular location.
“Having big groups of outsiders here for the weekend is not unusual and we welcome them because they are generally ramblers or morris dancers.
“You don’t expect a bunch of neo-fascists to turn up.”
The chairman of the trustees of Youlgrave Village Hall said the management committee had accepted the group’s booking in good faith after being told they were a sports club.
He added: “It was a complete shock when we saw this on the news - it was unexpected because they appeared credible.
“They used the hall for a couple of hours to do some fitness training and went and had a meal in one of the pubs, causing no trouble at all.
“They were just ideal users who didn’t make any mess and cleared up after themselves.
“I suppose it made sense for them to come here as a group because we have other groups doing the same thing all the time.”
A spokesman for the Youth Hostel Association said: “We are aware that a news report featured a far-right group using one of our facilities. We are saddened that one of our sites has been used for this purpose - it goes against everything that our organisation stands for.
“The site was used on a sole-use basis, booked by an individual, so no other guests were staying at the time.
“We are currently working with Derbyshire Police to offer any assistance we can.”
A spokesman for the North East Counter Terrorism Unit said: “We are taking steps to secure and review footage from ITN to assess whether any offences are taking place.”