Was the recent London Bridge terror attack actually the result of a tragic misunderstanding? Dartford IT engineer Ernie Pools believes that he knows the true identities of the three attackers shot dead whilst allegedly attacking random strangers on London Bridge and in Borough Market – and claims that they weren’t actually Jihadis, or even Muslims. “As soon as I heard about these so called attacks, I feared the worst,” he told top tabloid The Shite. “Then when my three mates. George, Johnno and Del didn’t come home that night and stopped answering their phones, I was sure it was them who had been shot the police. It was all a terrible mistake and now the authorities are trying to cover it up with their fake stories of Jihadis and deadly terror attacks!” According to Pools, his friends were part of a Jihadi terror re-enactment group, who had been planning to meet up with another group in London, for a mock terror incident. “They were playing the Jihadis, obviously – they’d blacked themselves up and had some rubber knives,” he recalls. “They were also very proud of their fake suicide bomb belts – they thought it hilarious that the supposed explosive containers on them were actually empty beer cans!” The trio were expecting to be confronted by a group of fellow re-enactment enthusiasts from Hounslow, who were going to be dressed as armed police officers, carrying paint ball guns. Sadly, however, the fake Jihadis instead ran into a group genuine armed policemen and died in a hail of bullets.

“I’ve subsequently found out that the lads from Hounslow never turned up – they got pissed in a pub in Ealing and ended up getting nicked for being drunk and disorderly, impersonating police officers and the possession of offensive weapons,” says Pools. “So my mates were busy running around with their rubber knives in vain. I mean, they just thought they were having a bit of fun, then some bastard calls the real cops and they end up brown bread!” Not surprisingly, Pools’ claims have been met with incredulity. “They killed eight people, for God’s sake! How could they do that with fake knives? That must have been an incredibly realistic re-enactment,” declares Hubert Kripps, Conservative MP for The Serpentine. “Not only that, but let’s not forget that the bastards kicked it all off by running people over in their van! Was that part of their planned re-enactment. What kind of person re-enacts extremist terror attacks, anyway? This man’s story is utterly ludicrous, not to mention offensive!” Pools remains adamant that the three attackers were actually part of a re-enactment group, pointing out that it is actually a very common past time. “Lots of people apparently enjoy dressing up as Nazi soldiers on their weekends and fighting fake battles with others dressed as American GIs,” he says. “I don’t think that dressing up as Jihadi terrorists is any more offensive or ludicrous than wearing an SS uniform. These re-enactment societies cover all sorts of historical periods, from Romans through the American Civil War to Vietnam. Some of them, like the Sealed Knot, are quite respectable. Just because Jihad terror re-enactment societies are in their early days doesn’t mean that they are any less legitimate than any of the others.”

Pools also points to the fact that the dead so-called terrorists were wearing obviously fake suicide bomb belts as further evidence that they were in fact part of a re-enactment group. “In that photograph of that alleged Jihadi lying dead in the street, you can clearly see that those are empty beer cans on his belt,” he says. “When I first saw it, I thought that the police had shot Duff Man from The Simpsons by mistake!” He has also given The Shite’s readers an insight into the workings of his local Jihadi re-enactment society. “The lads had originally wanted to be part of one of those World War Two re-enactment groups,” he explained. “But all the stuff they would have needed was really expensive – deactivated guns, uniforms, that sort of stuff. Those groupds expect it all to be authentic. So the guys had a brainwave: terrorists and Jihadi fighters don’t have expensive uniforms and weapons: they look like ordinary people and use stuff like cars, knives and bombs to kill people! It was a much cheaper way to play soldiers!”

Pools explained that his friends hadn’t originally wanted to play the terrorists, preferring to be portray police officers or SAS troopers. “Fake police uniforms are easier to get hold of and you just need to dress in black and wear a balaclava to be an SAS guy,” he muses. “The trouble was that when the group was formed, nobody wanted to be the crazy extremist guys – they always get shot! Originally, they tried to persuade Mr Khan and his sons from the local curry house to play the terrorists, a bit like how that Vietnam re-enactment group in Guilford got the waiters from their local Chinese takeaway to play the Viet Cong. But Mr Khan thought that was a bit racist and threatened to ban them from his restaurant. He also didn’t want to risk having the Anti Terrorist police investigate him again. So my mates agreed to black up and pretend to be the Jihadis.”

According to Pools, the group’s initial re-enactments went off without incident. “Of course, they all took place locally, on local disused industrial estates and the like,” he recalls. “But then they got over-ambitious and organised this event in London, with those guys from the Hounslow group. I did try to warn them, but they just wouldn’t listen!  Then they obviously had too many beers and the van went off the road on London Bridge and it all just unravelled!” Indeed, Pools claims that he tried to persuade his friends to pick a different era for their terror re-enactments. “I told them that it would be safer if they just did Irish accents and pretended to be IRA bombers – that’s far enough in the past now that people don’t get so wound up about it,” he sighs. “But no, they wanted to be cutting edge and contemporary. They reckoned that Jihadists were crazier and more fun to play than Irish terrorists. Look where it got them, eh?”