A 47-year-old man has been arrested after a mosque in Lancashire was vandalised with racist graffiti three days in a row.
The Masjid-e-Salaam in Preston was first targeted on Good Friday, when abuse was scrawled on the gateposts at the entrance in Watling Street.
It was cleaned away before the main prayers but further offensive writing appeared on Saturday night and Sunday morning.
Having launched a hate crime investigation, Lancashire Constabulary arrested the man from Preston on suspicion of racially aggravated criminal damage on Sunday afternoon.
The suspect has since been assessed and sectioned under the Mental Health Act
“I would like to reassure people, especially worshippers in the area, that we are taking this extremely seriously,” said Chief Inspector Gary Crowe.
“There have now been three reports in a matter of days and this is understandably causing a lot of upset and concern in the local community.
“This is completely unacceptable, hateful vandalism and this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated.
“We are working to get the most recent graffiti removed as quickly as possible and would like to thank the community for their support with our investigation so far.”
The force has increased patrols in the area.
Before and After... all cleaned up in readiness for the main Friday prayers.
Our Mosque is open for all and do not harbour any evil for those who wish otherwise.
May Allah.swt guide us all. pic.twitter.com/htcCg8yMla— Masjid-e-Salaam (@Masjidesalaam49)April 19, 2019
“We will continue to maintain a presence in the area and are following up on forensic and CCTV enquiries,” added Mr Crowe.
“I would urge anyone with any information at all to speak to us as soon as possible.”
The mosque’s official Twitter account had posted photographs of the original graffiti on Friday, adding: “Our Mosque is open for all and do not harbour any evil for those who wish otherwise.”
Police said the second report of graffiti was made at 10.45pm on Saturday, followed by a third at 6.15am on Sunday.