A sickening spate of brutal attacks on Asians in Cradley Heath has led to the arrest of a gang of local teenagers.
Asian pensioners have been beaten up, a young boy slapped in front of a mosque and a driver traumatised after the gang smashed his car up. Police launched a major hate crime investigation and arrested a five teenagers on suspicion of racially aggravated assault and criminal damage.
Cradley Heath and Old Hill councillor John Tipper raised the hate crimes with the police. He said: “This was a distressing series of incidents, and I’d like to offer my sympathy and support to everyone affected by them.
“Cradley Heath and Old Hill has for a long time been home to people from all sorts of different backgrounds, happy to live and work alongside one another and to contribute to the life of the community. The overwhelming majority of local people have no truck with hatred of people based on their race or religion.”
He added: “Hopefully, the swift action by the police has now brought this to a close.”
Two Asian men, aged 68 and 70, were kicked and punched by the gang last month and then a further assault near to Plant Street mosque was reported when an eight-year-old boy was slapped. The next victim was a 52-year-old man who was sitting in his Toyota car on Reddal Hill Road when the group of teenagers surrounded the car and began kicking it.
Chief Inspector Jane Parry said: “This type of behaviour is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our area. We pride ourselves on the close working relationship we have with our local community and will always to seek prosecute people who commit crimes of this nature.”
She added: “Officers have been working closely with the local mosque and continue to offer reassurance to local residents. I would appeal to anyone who may have witnessed the crimes or may have any information that could help our investigation to come forward. Since the arrests we have not had any further reports of this kind and would like to thank the local community for their continuing help and support.”
The two sixteen-year-olds, a 15, 17 and 18-year-old have been bailed by police until December with a strict daily curfew from 6.30pm until 7am and they have been barred from visiting Plant Street and Bearmore Park playing fields.
The Cradley Heath and Old Hill neighbourhood policing team is holding a public meeting at Plant Street mosque next Friday (November 29) at 1.15pm. Residents who require personal safety advice or want to report hate crimes should visit www.report-it.org.uk.
ENGAGE points out that there is a history of anti-Muslim attacks in Cradley Heath. In July the Plant Street mosque was plastered with racist graffiti that including a reference to the English Defence League. In 2009 the mosque was burnt to the ground in an arson attack.