A MOSQUE in Basingstoke has been targeted by racist graffiti yobs.

A wall of the Albirr Masjid mosque in Sarum Hill was daubed with foot-high letters on Saturday night - the eve of the Muslim festival of Ramadan.

The racist slogan was spotted by a man who had gone to the mosque between 9pm and 10pm to pray.

He noticed the graffiti as he left the building and alerted police.

Officers are still investigating an arson attack on the mosque earlier this year that they believe was also racially motivated.

As reported in The Gazette on August 14, emergency services were called to the mosque in the early hours of August 12 after a neighbour reported seeing flames and smoke at the rear of the building.

A small fire was discovered to have taken hold in the roof space and a total of 16 firefighters spent two hours tackling the blaze, which caused some damage inside the building. No one was in the mosque at the time of the incident.

Speaking about the latest attack, Inspector Annabel Berry of Basingstoke police said: "We take all graffiti attacks seriously but especially those that target particular sections of our community.

"I would like to reassure people that although this is the second attack on the mosque in the past couple of months, such attacks are rare and we are investigating. Anyone caught carrying out such an attack will be dealt with robustly."

Police are appealing for anyone who was in the area at the time and may have seen anything suspicious to contact them.

Anyone with information can call Basingstoke police on 0845 045 4545 or the confidential Crimestoppers line on 0800 555111.

For more on this story, see your Gazette on Thursday, September 28