Mugshots of Britain First pair Jayda Fransen and Paul Golding released

Police have released pictures of the leaders of Britain First in custody after deeming it to be in the public interest.

Kent Police issued the images to the media on Thursday - the day after leader Paul Golding and his deputy Jayda Fransen were convicted of hate crimes.

The pair were jailed on Wednesday at Folkestone Magistrates' Court for 18 weeks and 36 weeks respectively after standing trial for religiously-aggravated harassment which they carried out in Kent in May last year.

The court heard the pair launched a political campaign in which they claimed to be trying to expose Muslim men who were the subject of a rape trial.

Instead they ended up branding innocent people who practised the faith as paedophiles and rapists.

When Fransen and Golding were being sentenced, members of the press requested the release of the pictures but were told force policy was only to release images if a defendant had been handed an immediate jail sentence of more than a year.

But on Thursday the pictures were released after the force said it believed it was in the public interest to do so due to the nature of the offences.

Detective Inspector Bill Thornton, of Kent Police, said the crimes were "abhorrent" and the force would not tolerate crimes motivated by prejudice and hate, adding: "The fact that completely innocent members of the public were accused of
being rapists, making them fear for their own safety, shows how little regard they [Golding and Fransen] have for the consequences of their actions."

Requests for the release of footage depicting the crimes, which was played in open court, was denied due to concerns the videos could cause offence and because the files were not "readily available".

Reporters were also told it would be dependent on what sentence was handed down.