Three would-be jihadists who dubbed themselves the Three Musketeers have been jailed for life for plotting an attack on a police or military target.
Naweed Ali, 29, Khobaib Hussain, 25, both of Sparkhill, Birmingham, and Mohibur Rahman, 33, of Stoke-on-Trent, had planned a “mass casualty attack”.
A fourth man, Tahir Aziz, 38, of Stoke, was also given a life term.
Old Bailey judge Mr Justice Globe said the men had been gripped by a “long-standing, radical, violent ideology”.
Three of the men – Ali, Hussain and Rahman – had previously served prison sentences after being convicted of terrorism offences.
The trio – who called themselves the Three Musketeers when exchanging encrypted messages – were each sentenced to a minimum of 20 years in prison. All three refused to come to court.
Aziz was sentenced to a minimum term of 15 years in prison.
Mr Justice Globe said he was satisfied it was only because of the work of undercover police and the security services that an imminent terrorist attack “involving a considerable loss of life” was stopped.
The purpose of the planned attack was “to kill or injure and cause terror” and “to promote an anti-Western ideology,” he added.
Police say the men, who had all denied preparing terrorist acts, had been inspired by so-called Islamic State, also known as Daesh.