Two on trial for trying to burn down mosque in Stoke

Two men are due to go on trial today after denying trying to burn down a £1.6 million mosque.

Simon Beech, aged 23, and Gareth Foster, aged 28, are accused of starting a fire at the new mosque, in Regent Road, Hanley, on December 3 last year.

They both denied a charge of arson with intent to endanger life when they appeared at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court for an earlier hearing in June.

They have also pleaded not guilty to charges of arson being reckless as to whether property would be destroyed and damaged, and racially aggravated damage to the property.

The trial of Foster, of Hartshill Road, Stoke, and Beech, of Hilton Road, Hartshill, was expected to start at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court this afternoon.

The Sentinel, 5 December 2011