Hereford & Worcester

Swastikas sprayed on Redditch Central Mosque walls

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Media captionThe mosque was also vandalised two years ago

A mosque being built in Worcestershire has been broken into and graffiti including swastikas sprayed on to the walls and windows.

The damage at the mosque in Jinnah Road, Redditch, was caused between 02:00 BST and 04:30. Graffiti was sprayed over at least six windows.

The intruders forced their way through a gate and broke into the main building.

Police believe the motive for the attack was to steal building equipment.

A spokesperson said "thousands of pounds" worth of equipment was taken.

Image caption The mosque in Jinnah Road was also sprayed with the letters "EDL"

Two drills and two electronic generators were stolen along with a transformer, petrol mixer and other electrical items.

Police have renewed an appeal for witnesses and information from anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity or sightings of vans or larger vehicles there between 02:00 and 04.30 BST.

Supt Kevin Purcell, of West Mercia Police, said because of incidents "happening nationally", patrols had been put in place at the mosque, which has been under construction for several years.

'Won't hinder us'

Forensics experts have visited the site, in the Smallwood area of the town.

Police said they believed the aerosol paint cans used by the vandals had been taken from builders' cabins on the site.

Image caption Work has already started to remove the graffiti

BBC WM reporter Michelle Dawes, who was at the scene, said swastikas had been sprayed in blue paint, along with the initials EDL, NF, KKK and racist language.

The £2.5m mosque, which will be known as the Redditch Central Mosque once opened, has previously been hit by vandalism. At the time of those attacks two years ago, they were not thought to be racially motivated.

The new building will measure more than 1,000 sq m (10,760 sq ft) and will have room for about 1,300 worshippers. It will replace the current mosque in Easemore Road.

Mosque leaders said they were "shocked" at the attack.

Treasurer Mobeen Al-Hussain said they believed the intruders had broken in to steal some drainage equipment being used by the construction workers and had painted the graffiti after finding the spray cans.

"It is sad but as a project it's not going to hinder our next phase," he said.

"We're hoping to have some part of this mosque running by the end of the year, if not fully operational."

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