Lancashire's Muslim leaders have united to condemn the terrorist plot to blow up aircraft travelling between the UK and the US.

Scotland Yard have confirmed they have disrupted a major plot to blow up to as many as 20 planes over the UK and US using explosives smuggled aboard as hand luggage.

Police have arrested around 18 people, believed to include British-born Muslims, after an anti-terrorist operation lasting several months.

And mosque leaders reacted with horror to the plot.

They included Imam Habsbur Rehman of the Muhammadi Mosque in Nelson, which is made up of 200 Muslims.

He said: "After the July 7 attacks we, in Pendle, stood shoulder to shoulder with the government.

"Whoever is behind this, whatever their background, must be brought to justice.

"There are fanatics who are badly motivated but the majority of Muslims are law abiding and peaceful citizens.

"We strongly care about the safety of British land and nobody has the right to threaten the lives of innocent people under any circumstances.

"Islam teaches us humanity and that life is sacred and we are all united against terrorism."

Coun Salim Mulla, secretary of the Lancashire Council of Mosques, said the stringent checks at airports following the intelligence was wholly justified.

"There is a responsibility on the government to make everybody safe.

"I don't know how strong the intelligence is but if what they are saying is true then it is right what is happening at airports.

"If people are being delayed, that is necessary as long as it keeps everyone safe."