A HUCKNALL man who spray-painted racist graffiti at a site earmarked for a Muslim mosque has avoided being sent straight to prison.
Christopher Payne (25), of Beardsmore Grove, was with a gang who also placed a severed pig’s head on a pole at the spot.
He admitted daubing the slogan ‘No Mosque Here, EDL Notts’ on the pavement at the site near Collington Way, off Derby Road, West Bridgford. EDL is a reference to the English Defence League, of which Payne was a member.
The vandalism and head were discovered by a member of the public on Thursday June 23.
Payne appeared at Nottingham Magistrates Court for sentencing after admitted racially-aggravated public order offences.
He also confessed to causing racially or religiously-aggravated harassment, alarm or distress and racially or religiously-aggravated criminal damage.
At the time of a previous court hearing in June, Payne had been an events organiser for the EDL. But at the sentencing hearing, the court heard he had since left the group.
Also during the previous hearing, Payne denied placing the pig’s head on a four-foot yellow pole at the location but admitted he had been part of the group which had travelled there with it.
The court heard that he had been in a pub in Clifton when he had received a text-message from a friend who had the pig’s head.
His solicitor had told the court Payne admitted to the graffiti but wanted no involvement in placing the head, which had been brought to the boozer in a bin liner.
Last week, the court heard he had failed to prevent others placing the head at the site.
Payne was sentenced to six weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for a year.
He was also told to pay a £250 fine and £85 costs and complete 100 hours of community service.
He was also banned from West Bridgford for 12 months.
In mitigation, the court was told Payne regretted his actions and understood they had been irresponsible.
The EDL is an activist group claiming to protect against “radical Islam’s encroachment into the lives of non-Muslims”.