An Old Bailey judge was forced to mute four terror suspects accused of plotting a terrorist attack as they laughed and joked during their court appearance. Naweed Ali, 28, Khobaib Hussain, 24, Mohibur Rahman, 32, and Tahir Aziz, 37, appeared at the court via video link from Belmarsh Prison.

They sat in a row chatting to each other before the start of the hearing and could be heard joking and laughing as they tried to adjust the camera angle. Judge Mr Justice Saunders was forced to mute the feed to allow silence in Court Three.

The defendants, who are from Birmingham and Stoke-on-Trent, are charged with preparation of terrorism, and each held their hand up in answer to their names.

Their trial, which will take place before a High Court judge, was provisionally set for February 27 and is expected to last eight to 10 weeks.

The men were arrested on August 26 by the West Midlands Police counter-terrorism unit. They have been charged with preparing for terrorist acts, contrary to section five of the Terrorist Act 2006, between May 26 and August 27.

Ali and Hussain, both of Sparkhill in Birmingham, and Rahman and Aziz, of Stoke-on-Trent, were all remanded in custody and ordered to appear on December 19 for a plea hearing.