||Local Middlesbrough paper, The Evening Gazette, reports on the conviction of six men, all of whom are associated with the English Defence League, for religiously aggravated disorder.
The men were apprehended after shouting inflammatory religious abuse while at Middlesbrough railway station last December.
From the local paper:
“Six men with links to a controversial right-wing pressure group have been convicted of chanting a sickening torrent of religious abuse.
“The men, who are associated with the English Defence League (EDL), shouted a highly inflammatory religious chant at Middlesbrough railway station.
“They were convicted of religiously aggravated disorder yesterday after a two-day trial at Teesside Magistrates’ Court.
“The men - who represented themselves during the trial - shouted the abuse at the station on Saturday, December 10, 2011.
“The group was in Middlesbrough to watch ‘Boro play Brighton, but when they decided it was too cold they visited several pubs in the town instead.
“They then went on to the railway station, the court heard.
“PC Andrew Ward, of British Transport Police, told how he approached the “drunk”, “noisy” group three times telling them to calm down.
“He said the group was singing EDL chants and when the men started singing a highly inflammatory religious chant he decided to eject them from the station.
“He added that as the group left, one of the men, Christopher Caswell, 32, became aggressive and raised his fist.
“The officer responded by spraying him with CS spray and called for police back-up.
“DVD footage was played showing the men jumping up and down, waving and clapping their hands. There was no audio on the tape.
“When asked to describe an Islamic person in police interview, 22-year-old Jak Beasley said: “Scum”.
“They said they were associated to the EDL in some way and said some EDL chants as well as the national anthem had been sung.
“But they all strongly denied singing the highly inflammatory chant in question.”
Previous demonstrations by the EDL in the Middlesbrough area saw the arrest of several members on suspicion of attacking a mosque in Darlington. The local MP, Tom Blenkinsop, tabled an early day motion last year, ahead of the EDL’s proposed march in July 2011, calling on “all the communities in Middlesbrough to join together in showing solidarity and opposition to this march.”