Man charged in Preston mosque graffiti probe – Lancashire Evening Post

Man charged in Preston mosque graffiti probe - Lancashire Evening Post

Man charged over graffiti on Preston mosque

Gavin Edghill, 47, of Lower Bank Road, Preston has been charged with four counts of racially aggravated criminal damage and one count of racially aggravated public order.

Officers received three separate reports of graffiti of a racist and offensive nature being found written on a gate post outside Masjid E Salaam Mosque on Watling Street Road April 19 and yesterday.

Mr Edghill has been remanded in custody and will appear before Preston Magistrates Court tomorrow morning.

Chief Inspector Gary Crowe of Preston Police, said earlier: “I would like to reassure people, especially worshippers in the area, that we are taking this extremely seriously.

This is completely unacceptable, hateful vandalism and this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated.

We are working to get the most recent graffiti removed as quickly as possible and would like to thank the community for their support with our investigation so far.

We will continue to maintain a presence in the area and are following up on forensic and CCTV enquiries.

The Light Foundation said in a statement: “This type of behaviour is unheard of in Preston, a peaceful and tolerant community, and has understandably created fear and anxiety.

“In a spirit of mutual co-operation, we would like to extend our hand – a further hand to what has already been extended by the brilliant, patient, resilient and compassion leadership team at Masjid-E-Salam – reaching out to those responsible for these recent and sustained attacks.

“If any of those, in which ever capacity are responsible for these messages, and are reading this – our humble request is to meet with you in a spirit of friendship and understanding, and to explore new ways of making our city even more enjoyable, diverse and peaceful to live in.”

On Sunday, police said a local man had been arrested and later sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

In a statement, Lancashire police said: Police have been making a number of inquiries throughout the weekend and have this afternoon arrested a man in connection with the investigation.

A 47-year-old-man from Preston has been arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated criminal damage. He has since been assessed and sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

The first offence took place outside the mosque some time overnight between Thursday and Friday. A hate crime investigation was launched and the writing was removed from the gatepost, but a second report of graffiti in the same location was made to police on Saturday at 10.45pm.

At 6.15am on Sunday, a further report was made that more offensive writing had been added to the gatepost.

Read more On Friday, the mosques official Twitter account posted a photograph of the words scrawled at the site entrance, alongside a photograph after it was cleaned up. An accompanying message read: Before and after … all cleaned up in readiness for the main Friday prayers.

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