AN OXFORD University employee has been suspended from work after material emerged online showing he had links to Islamic terrorism, the Oxford Mail can reveal.

The action has been taken after the university was told the non-academic worker, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had been arrested for terrorism offences and detained in Italy five years ago.

It was alleged the worker was involved in spreading extremist material, although he denied committing an offence, and spent two-and-a-half years in a number of prisons.

Last night, the university told the Oxford Mail it had immediately alerted Thames Valley Police when it was informed earlier this month and an internal investigation had begun into the worker's background.

No arrest has taken place following the discovery of the online reports.

It is not known how long the worker has been employed by the university or has lived in the UK, but the Oxford Mail understands the man, aged in his mid 30s, was arrested in Italy in 2012.

Reports in the country at the time said the worker had been arrested in the Marche region in the east of the country.

An operation by Italian authorities and the Cagliari State Police led to the arrest of the man as part of a wider investigation into Jihadi extremism.

The reports said he had converted to Islam after studying Arabic, changed his name, and wanted to travel to Afghanistan to 'join the war-fighting formations of the 'Holy War'.

He was also in a relationship with a Moroccan woman and one report said counter terrorism police in Italy arrested him in March 2012 after he was about to leave the country and go to Rabat, Morocco.

The suspect reportedly had sent emails containing links to download operational manuals on how to execute terror 'attacks and guerilla techniques'.

He, along with others, were considered a major link between international Jihadists and 'the Italian network', the report said.

Another report suggested the worker had served a prison sentence in 'institutes' across Italy before he was released in 2014 and moved to England, where he was later employed by Oxford University.

Last night, a spokesman for the university said he was suspended from work pending an investigation.

The principal of St Anne's College, Helen King - a former Assistant Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police - will head up a 'review' of the circumstances surrounding the case.

It is understood Ms King, who is chairwoman of the university's security committee, will then make 'recommendations'.

A source with close links to the university told the Oxford Mail he thought institutions such as Oxford University should be 'held accountable' and called for them to be more transparent.

He added: "It's a huge problem in our society at the moment as well as trust between the public and the institutions that offer employment, governance and make our laws."

Thames Valley Police says it is not currently investigating any offences related to this man.