Thirteen potential terror attacks in the UK have been thwarted in less than four years, Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism officer has revealed.

Assistant commissioner Mark Rowley also said security services were running more than 500 live investigations at any time.

A major appeal for the public to report any suspicious activity followed the disclosure that Birmingham was one of the terrorist capitals of Britain.

The wards of Springfield, Sparkhill, Hall Green and Hodge Hill in particular have been home to a high proportion of convicted Muslim terrorists.

It was one of the conclusions of a 1,000-page report to be published by thinktank the Henry Jackson society in Parliament on Tuesday March 7.

Researchers looked at the backgrounds of people convicted of Islamist-related terrorism in the UK and found London and Birmingham had produced the most terrorists.

The officer launched the appeal by revealing that, since June 2013, police and intelligence agencies had disrupted 13 terrorist attack plots nationally.

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Information from members of the public contributed to stopping some of those attacks, while figures show it has assisted counter-terrorism police in a third of the most high-risk investigations.

Rowley said: “The public are making a great contribution which is critical to us all working together to protect ourselves from terrorism.”

Despite foiling a string of plots since the murder of Lee Rigby in May 2013, the senior officer stressed the threat continued to be severe.

Investigators have been making arrests at a rate of close to one a day on average since 2014.

The official threat level for international terrorism has stood at severe – meaning an attack is “highly likely” – for more than two years.

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As part of the Action Counters Terrorism campaign, a podcast has been produced revealing previously untold stories of how terrorist attacks on UK soil were prevented, featuring accounts from detectives, bomb disposal and surveillance officers.

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