Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Man admits racist fire attack on Edinburgh mosque

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Image caption Central Mosque in Potterrow was damaged after an object was thrown at it

A man has pleaded guilty to a petrol bomb attack on an Edinburgh mosque.

Thomas Conington, 28, caused a fire at the Central Mosque in September 2016. No one was hurt. The building sustained minor damage.

The High Court in Glasgow heard Conington admitted wilful fireraising, behaving in a threatening manner and a charge under the Explosives Act - all aggravated by religious prejudice.

Conington also set fire to the Central Mosque in Edinburgh in July 2015.

The court heard he returned last summer, shouting racist, bigoted abuse as he was ordered out.

He went back again last September, despite being out on bail, armed with a petrol bomb which he lit and threw over the gates in Potterrow.

He was remanded in custody pending sentencing next month.

'Bigoted individual'

The court heard Conington has a Nazi tattoo on his neck and has a swastika tattoo on his chest.

Prosecutor Jim Keegan described him as a "racist and bigoted individual".

It emerged the attack at the mosque happened after Conington had been involved in another racist incident at a supermarket.

He shouted at security guard Yakub Moro at the Tesco store in the capital's Duke Street on 3 March 2016.

Conington also admitted acting in a racially-aggravated manner in connection with the incident.

Matthew Auchincloss, defending, said: "His racism is not based on ideology, political thinking or being part of a movement.

"His racism is a very personal matter. It appears to be rooted in his own personal experiences.

"This is the conduct, as he sees it, of male Asian Muslims who have had contact with his family.

"That may be irrational - to some extent he recognises that - but he does accept he is a racist towards that particular group."

Lord Burns adjourned sentencing for reports until next month.

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