He tried to hide his identity behind the hideous hood of the Ku Klux Klan – but his tell-tale tattoos are visible for all to see.
This is Chris Hopgood, vile racist leader of a British wing of the white supremacists. In the first evidence of UK Klan activity in decades, the KKK Grand Dragon poses with other senior members of the sick organisation.
A Mirror investigation uncovered the snaps on a German extremist website, set up to lure new recruits to the infamous US-based hate group.
Hopgood, a tattooist living in Co Durham, proudly wears a Klan robe as he stands alongside another KKK Grand Dragon and the European White Knights of the Burning Cross Imperial Wizard. The same group staged a cross-burning ceremony in a field in Germany this year and posted a video of the disturbing spectacle on the internet.
Hopgood, 51, is also a supporter of Nick Griffin’s far-right British National Party and the English Defence League.
He believed he could hide under a Klan hood during secret meetings. But as our photos show, he fails to cover the word KLAN tattooed across the knuckles of his right hand. Also on view are his distinctive spider-web tattoos creeping over both his hands.
In photos we took of the bearded, heavy-set biker out walking in the old mining town of Easington Colliery, the same tattoos are clearly showing – proving he is the hooded Klan leader. The married dad, who has multiple piercings, including a bull-ring through his nose, also sports a Nazi symbol sewn into his leather biker’s vest.
The European White Knights bring together white supremacists in Europe and the US who believe in a racist and anti-Jewish creed called Christian Identity.
The group claims it is officially recognised by the original KKK in the US and is partnered with several other US groups – including the gay and black-hating Keltin Klan Kirk, whose masked leader is on YouTube preaching hatred in front of a swastika with an assault rifle.
The European White Knights claim to be represented in Britain, Germany, France, Greece, Austria, Switzerland and Sweden.
Butch-looking Hopgood ran a separate whiteknights-kkk.co.uk website, which was recently taken down, on which he denounced homosexuality as a “cancer that threatens our way of life”, and warned: “We are a threat for we will never lay down to the oppressors and enemies of our white race.”
He has several tattoos across his body, including his nickname “Hoppy” on the side of his shaved head, and his tag on social networking site Fubar is Hoppy Texas Wolves.
Hopgood has posted dozens of photos of himself on his bikes and posing with the Confederate flag – associated with Southern US heritage but also used by some as a symbol of slavery and racism.
Hopgood – who has spent time in Georgia, a US state with a huge KKK presence – shared a picture with friends on Fubar of a pregnant white woman and blonde child with the words “Love Your Race”.Underneath, he has written: “For our kids and grandkids”. Under Interests, he writes: “www.whiteknights-kkk.co.uk go visit worth a look.”
The Mirror has discovered the whiteknights-kkk.co.uk website was set up using Hopgood’s address in Easington Colliery.
New recruits were invited to join by filling out an application form – and confirming: “I believe in the segregation of the races.”
His Facebook profile picture is the symbol for the EDL Bikers, a section of the right-wing English Defence League.
And Hopgood, born in Aldershot, Hants, also trumpeted his support for Nick Griffin and the BNP on his personal site: “The BNP is a legally elected political party elected by the people of England and as such he has the rights of any other legal party to have his say on our behalf.”
Our investigator made contact with a Chris affiliated to the White Knights site, who claimed to be the KKK Grand Dragon of England.
In emails, he boasted he was recruiting new members and hoped to open KKK branches in Scotland and Wales.
On an online forum used by extremists, a Grand Dragon called Chris wrote: “Greetings brothers and sisters and blessings to you all. I am Chris Grand Dragon ‘European White Knights Of The Burning Cross’ England. It is such an honour to be welcomed so well... and to talk to so many great members of the KKK. It is a hard struggle to bring a united white brotherhood to England. But one that is worth it. I send respect to all brothers and sisters in all parts of the white nation.”
According to a German newspaper, the European White Knights of the Burning Cross have recently printed copies of the Klan bible, called the Klorane.German and English language versions have been distributed to members.
A video posted in February on their site shows 14 robed Klansmen burning a cross to stirring background music in Grabow, Germany.
They were all wearing gloves so it is not clear whether Hopgood took part in the ceremony.
One Klansman shouts in German: “White Power”. The group responds in chorus: “White Power.”
The arms of the men and women are then raised in a Hitler salute. An entry next to the video, written in German, signs off with: “Our life is for the cross. The cross is our life!...Become a member of our Brotherhood. Rev Imperial Wizard.”
Yesterday the Mirror paid Hopgood a visit but was told he was not home. Five minutes after we left, Hopgood called our reporter claiming he was not a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
When asked why he was dressed in a hood and the full Klan uniform, appearing in photos alongside KKK leaders from Europe, he claimed: “I do it for my personal jollies.”
Hopgood added: “I have no views on the KKK. The fact that I have my political views is known by 99.9% of my customers.
“One of the royals dressed as a Nazi stormtrooper, but that does not make him a Nazi. I am not a member of the Ku Klux Klan and I am not recruiting in England, Scotland or Wales.”
A spokesman for anti-extremist organization Hope Not Hate said he was shocked the KKK had a presence in the UK.
He declared: “It’s chilling to see the KKK bringing their message of hate to the heart of England.
“It shows how far the tentacles of international extremism have spread. This is why we must all remain vigilant to prevent racists getting a stranglehold on our communities.”
In 2009, the BNP demanded a former Klan leader be allowed into Britain.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith had put ex-KKK Grand Wizard Don Black on a blacklist of extremists but Mr Griffin urged her to let him in. He said: “The only people who can be kept out are those who inflict violence, which Don Black has not.”
But in 1981, Black had been found in possession of weapons and ammunition and was jailed for three years. And Griffin was photographed with the white supremacist in New Orleans in 2005 and Washington in 2006.
EDIT - EDL News have been having a dig around on Facebook looking for more evidence and have come up with this