Fan fined for ripping up Koran pages at football match

Mark Stephenson Magistrates told Mark Stephenson it was "lucky nothing occurred as a result of your actions"

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A football fan who ripped up pages of the Koran during a match has been fined for "religiously aggravated" disorder.

Middlesbrough supporter Mark Stephenson, 25, admitted a charge of threatening behaviour.

Birmingham Magistrates' Court heard Stephenson, a purchasing manager from Shrewsbury, had been drinking ahead of his team's match at Birmingham City.

He was fined £235 but spared a football banning order.

'Extremely unsavoury'

Magistrates also ordered Stephenson to pay £105 costs and a £23 victim surcharge.

The court heard he was part of a group of 20 visiting supporters at the 7 December game at St Andrew's, Birmingham City's ground.

Prosecutor Jonathan Purser said he was seen pretending to set fire to pages of the Koran with a lighter after a female supporter handed them to him.

St Andrew's The incident happened during Middlesbrough's Sky Bet Championship fixture at St Andrew's

Mr Purser added other fans were shouting and chanting at the time of the offence, and the words "Koran, Muslims and burning" were overheard by a steward.

Sentencing, chairman of the bench Ronald Healy told Stephenson his behaviour had been "extremely unsavoury and extremely regrettable".

"Incidents of this kind are considered extremely offensive to some members of the community," he said.

Two women from Middlesbrough charged in connection with events at the match both pleaded not guilty to a religiously aggravated public order offence.

They were bailed to stand trial at Birmingham Magistrates' Court on 1 May.

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