EDL trio accused of racist graffiti

Three members of the English Defence League, including two from County Durham, have appeared in court charged with conspiring to commit racially aggravated criminal damage.

Anthony Smith, 24, of Easington, Peterlee, and Steven Vasey, 31, of High Pittington, along with Charlotte Davies, 19, of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, are alleged to have plotted to daub graffiti on a mosque and buildings linked to a family business.

Each spoke only to answer their name during a short hearing before Peterlee Magistrates on Wednesday. Davies, wearing a pale crocheted top, giggled as the charge was read out. None entered a plea to the indictable only offence.

Chairman of the bench Gary Walker committed the case to Durham Crown Court, where the defendants are due to appear before a judge next Wednesday. They were released on unconditional bail.

A Durham Police spokesman said: “The charges relate to spray- painting incidents at the Nasir mosque in Hartlepool, the Albert Guest House in Shotton Colliery and the Milko store in Shotton Colliery, all on November 16 last year. At the time of the alleged offences, all three people claimed membership of the English Defence League.”

Press Association, 11 May 2011