Six charged for abusing members of the Muslim community

Six teenagers have been charged with abusing members of the Muslim community – including pensioners and a schoolboy – as they made their way to and from mosque prayers.

Officers from the Cradley Heath Neighbourhood Police Team launched an investigation last October following reports of verbal abuse and assaults against worshippers from the Plant Street mosque.

The investigation resulted in a 17-year-old local youth being charged with three counts of racially-aggravated assault.

The teenager, a sales assistant, is accused of punching and kicking men aged 68 and 70 in separate attacks on October 16 and 17 and slapping an eight-year-old boy outside the mosque on October 24.

Five other youths – two 16-year-olds, two 15-year-olds and a 14-year-old, all from Cradley Heath – have also been charged with racially-aggravated harassment and criminal damage to a motor vehicle.

All six, who due to their age cannot be named for legal reasons, have been bailed and are set to appear at Sandwell Youth Court on February 3.

Neighbourhood police Sergeant Mandy Morgan, said: “We pride ourselves on the close working relationship we have with our local community and will always to seek prosecute people suspected of committing crimes of this nature. It is totally unacceptable.

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“Officers have been working closely with the local mosque and continue to offer reassurance to local residents.”

All but the youngest suspect have also been charged with criminal damage when it is alleged they surrounded and kicked a 58-year-old man’s car in Reddal Hill Road on the evening of October 20, causing extensive bodywork damage and writing it off.

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