Six youths have appeared before magistrates charged in connection with a police inquiry into alleged harassment of worshippers travelling to a mosque in the West Midlands.
Five of the teenagers, aged between 15 and 17, pleaded not guilty to causing criminal damage to a car during a lengthy court hearing in Oldbury. The sixth defendant, aged 14, denied a charge of racially aggravated harassment.
Sandwell Magistrates’ Court heard that the youths are alleged to have been involved in public order offences committed against members of the Muslim community over a 10-day period in October last year.
None of the accused, who all live in the Sandwell area, can be named for legal reasons.
Magistrates were told that some of the defendants face further charges, including several allegations of racially aggravated assault, which are expected to be formally put to them at a further hearing next Monday.
West Midlands Police announced last week that it was investigating alleged assaults on an eight-year-old schoolboy and two pensioners near the Plant Street Mosque in Cradley Heath.
Update: See also, “Six deny race charges on crimes near Sandwell mosque”, Express & Star, 4 February 2014