Stoke & Staffordshire

Man charged after Stoke-on-Trent fire was in Army

Regent Road mosque - archive image
Image caption Live CCTV footage showed smoke coming from the mosque in Regent Road early on 3 December 2010

A man charged after a fire at a Stoke-on-Trent mosque was a serving soldier in the Army at the time of the attack.

Live CCTV footage showed smoke coming from the mosque in Regent Road, Hanley, at about 0630 GMT on 3 December 2010.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said Simon Beech served with 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment and was discharged from the Army in February.

Mr Beech, of Hartshill Road, Stoke-on-Trent, has been charged with arson with intent to endanger life.

'Early stages'

Gareth Foster, also of Hartshill Road, has been charged with the same offence.

Both men have been granted conditional bail and have been due to appear at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court on 10 June.

An MoD spokesman said Mr Beech was in "the early stages of his Army career".

The fire was at a mosque which is being built. Damage is still being assessed, but elders are determined the building will be completed as planned.

Religious leaders from all faiths came together in a show of solidarity after the fire.

The 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment is based at Weeton Barracks in Lancashire.

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