A crisis meeting between police chiefs and local religious leaders has been held after the discovery of bomb-making equipment in a patch of woodland close to Croydon Synagogue.

Police confirmed last week, after a BBC Newsnight report, that they had discovered a number of items which has aroused fears of extremist violence breaking out in Croydon.

On Monday morning at Croydon police station, in a meeting chaired by Chief Superintendent Mark Gore, representatives from Muslim and Jewish communities, Croydon Council and Croydon Mosque and Islamic Centre met to discuss the investigation.

It follows confirmation from police that items were found in woodland off Shirley Oaks Road on November 4 and November 11.

The land is opposite Croydon Synagogue and the items were said to include equipment that could be used to make petrol bombs.

The meeting came after a BBC report claimed the radical Islamic group, Hizb ut-Tahrir, were distributing leaflets outside Croydon Mosque and Islamic Centre in an attempt to recruit new members.

A source in the group told Newsnight that they had uncovered a plot by Hizb ut-Tahrir's members to attack the synagogue.

Croydon Mosque spokesman Shuaib Yusaf said that the discovery was a cause for concern.

He added: "Explosives endangering human lives in any community is a cause for concern.

"They are not just a cause of concern for the Jewish community but for everyone in Croydon, because it shows that there are people out there trying to undermine the work we are doing."

It has been claimed that Hizb ut-Tahrir was holding regular meetings at the mosque, which were monitored by the staff there.

But Mr Yusaf, told the Croydon Guardian that the meetings had stopped around nine months ago.

He added: "The meetings that were taking place were organised by this group and have been going on since about 2003. At the time we were in danger of losing our charitable status and above all we are a community organisation.

"We do not provide a platform for any political organisations and this became an issue. The mosque was being used by a political group and this clearly had to stop. They were stopped but it is a very difficult thing to monitor as the mosque is a public place."

During Friday prayers at the London Road mosque last week there was a noticeable police presence as recruiters of the Islamic group handed out leaflets.

Mr Yusaf added: "It is something we have asked them to stop doing because the community tends to think it is on behalf of the mosque and it is not. However, I doubt very much that it will stop because although we can control what happens inside the mosque, we cannot control what goes on outside.

"At the Croydon Mosque we provide a secure place of worship and we engage in community based activities. Sometimes these leaflets are fully divisive and tend to undermine all the good work we do."

A police spokesman added: "A further meeting was held with representatives from both the Jewish and Muslim communities, the local authority and Croydon Mosque to discuss any concerns or issues following the recent investigation and both the national and local media coverage.

"There are no more meetings planned at present but this will be reviewed regularly. There has been a visible police presence outside the Mosque on Fridays for prayers and again this is being constantly reviewed."

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