Two English Defence League members, Simon Beech and Garreth Foster, have today been jailed for ten years each after being found guilty of trying to blow up a Regents Road Mosque in Hanley, Stoke on Trent by fracturing a gas mains.
Beech was a serving soldier of the 2nd Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment when he was arrested following the attack on the 3rd December, 2010. Both had denied causing the blaze that ensued, causing £50,000 worth of damage.
During the trial, the court heard Beech “liked” messages posted on Facebook calling for attacks on Muslims to “sort them out”.
The court heard how the pair had attached a 150 metre plastic pipe to the gas mains and ran to into the mosque putting the mosque and the surrounding residential area at a substantial risk to explosion.
Beech had sent a text message to Foster around a month before the incident asking him if he was “up for” causing an explosion.
Beech had posted on his Facebook account “We need to start taking things into our own hands. It’s time to sort them out.” He went on to post “The time has come. They burn our poppies, we burn their places. Burn the lot of them out.”
The pair were eventually caught by police after footprints were found that matched their footwear and by forensic evidence linking them to two balaclavas at Foster’s flat.
Early reactions from EDL Members.
Joanne Dickens of the EDL’s Notts Division thinks that causing an explosion at a Mosque which could have killed many local residents is worthy of a medal.
Here we can see the two men at an EDL gathering