Man charged in Preston mosque graffiti probe

The vandalised mosque. Part of the graffiti has been obscured
The vandalised mosque. Part of the graffiti has been obscured

A Preston man has been charged over racist graffiti outside a mosque in the city.

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.

Graffiti was also later found on a NHS sign on Watling Street Road.

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.

“I would urge anyone with any information at all to speak to us as soon as possible.”

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."