Two jailed for Mosque attack

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Ten year sentences for Simon Beech and Garreth Foster

TWO men have been found guilty of arson and jailed for a total of 20 years in prison following a fire at a mosque in Stoke-on-Trent.

Simon Beech, 23, and Garreth Foster, 29, both from Stoke-on-Trent, were convicted of arson following the incident at the mosque in Regent Road, Hanley, last December.

Following a four-day trial at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court the men were sentenced to ten years each in prison.

A detailed police investigation was launched by the force’s Major Investigations Department (MID) following the incident, which included a detailed forensic examination of the scene, a comprehensive review of CCTV coverage in the area, house to house inquiries and taking in excess of 100 witness statements.

The court heard the deliberate attempt to start the fire did not cause any structural damage at the mosque, although smoke did cause some damage to the interior.

Chief Inspector Jeff Moore, commander of Stoke-on-Trent Central Local Policing Team (LPT), said: “The sentences are to be welcomed and send out a clear message – this kind of criminal act will not be tolerated in Staffordshire.

“Following the fire numerous meetings were held between local neighbourhood police officers and members of the community to keep them informed of our investigation and to address their concerns.

“It was comforting to see that in such difficult and upsetting circumstances the community pulled together and that is still very much the case today. In fact just a short time after the incident local people gathered together for a community clean-up which helped to boost spirits.

“Although this was a serious incident, it was an isolated one. It is not a reflection of the good community relationships we have within Stoke-on-Trent.

“We will continue to work with all our communities to maintain these relationships and together with our partners we are committed to tackling, and driving down, all incidents of hate crime – which have no place in today’s society.

“We will listen to any concerns and do everything in our power to address them and provide reassurance.”

 

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