Preston BNP activist cleared over anti-Muslim leaflets


A BNP activist who delivered leaflets which blamed Muslims for the heroin trade has been cleared of intending to incite religious hatred.

Anthony Bamber, 54, of Preston, printed and distributed the documents claiming Muslims were responsible for importing the drug from Pakistan and Afghanistan.

They demanded that followers of Islam "apologise and pay compensation" for the trade, Preston Crown Court heard.

Mr Bamber said he had wanted to provoke a discussion about the heroin trade.

He denied seven counts of distributing threatening written material intended to stir up religious hatred between March and November 2008 and was cleared by a jury on all counts.

'Crime against humanity'

Mr Bamber, of Greenbank Street, was responsible for a campaign which delivered 30,000 leaflets to targeted areas and individuals across the north of England over a 12-month period, the court heard.

Entitled The Heroin Trade, the leaflet said: "Before the Islamic invasion it was impossible to find heroin in our land.

"Muslims are almost exclusively responsible for its production, transportation and sale.

"It is a crime against humanity because it has caused far more suffering than slavery ever did. It has led to millions of premature deaths."

Muslims should be held to account with condemnation heaped upon them so that it would lead to the abolition of the trade, it added.

Representing himself at his trial, Mr Bamber told jurors there had been "no unpleasant incidents or social unrest" following the distribution of the leaflets.

Mr Bamber said he had targeted the leaflets at professionals, hoping to create curiosity and interest which would then lead to a debate.

He said: "It was a desire to protest at what I say is a monstrous abomination. I believe I have the right to protest about the heroin trade.

"I think it should be discussed and debated, and it will come [round] to my opinion that it is a crime against humanity.

"I believe I was doing a good thing."

Following the verdict, Det Supt Neil Hunter, of Lancashire police said: "While we are disappointed with today's decision, we accept the decision of the court.

"Notwithstanding today's decision we condemn the contents of the leaflets and their distribution which we are concerned has the potential to damage community cohesion."

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