Three teenagers have been charged with a religiously-motivated attack on a church food bank in Preston.
The youths, who cannot be named due to their ages, have appeared before Preston Youth Court after an alleged incident at the Salvation Army base on Harrington Street, Preston. During the ordeal, on May 6, the church’s Captain Alex Cadogan, who runs the food bank, was allegedly subjected to religious taunts and insults.
It is also said a window was broken and a uPVC door damaged during the incident.
Capt Cadogan was too distressed to speak about the incident today and police said he had been left shaken. He is currently off work.
Preston police hate crime team is dealing with the investigation.
PC Stuart Rutlidge said: “Comments were allegedly made towards the captain which were highly offensive and highly upsetting.
“The gentleman himself has been very upset by it. A lot of their work is about supporting young people and they have various youth groups.”
The Salvation Army is known for its work with some of the city’s poorest and more vulnerable people. It offers help to the elderly, the young, offenders, drug addicts and blind and disabled people, provides food and shelter for the homeless, and operates food distribution centres.
The Preston branch administers the vital food bank service for hundreds of needy families in the city.
It also assists people who have hit hard times to find accommodation, gives impoverished people clothes and helps reunite lost families.
A 14-year-old girl appeared before Preston Youth Court and denied causing £50 of damage to a window ledge and door and using religiously aggravated threatening behaviour towards Capt Cadogan, but has pleaded not guilty to both counts.
A 15-year-old girl appeared at the same court accused of using religiously aggravated threatening behaviour towards Capt Cadogan, and has also pleaded not guilty.
A 16-year-old boy from Preston denies the same offence.
All three will next appear at the youth court on July 24 for a trial.