A MAN has been sent to prison after admitting tying a pig’s head to the gates of a Cheltenham Mosque in November 2010.

Simon Parkes, 45, of Crown Close, Bishop’s Cleeve, was charged with racially or religiously aggravated criminal damage and a public order offence on July 14 after the pig’s head was tied to the gates of Cheltenham Mosque along with racist graffiti on November 13 2010.

He pleaded guilty at Cheltenham Magistrates Court on Thursday August 9 and was today sentenced to four months imprisonment at Gloucester Crown Court.

A spokesman from Cheltenham Mosque said the community had been left reeling by the shocking incident. “This was a very shocking incident for the whole community Muslim and Non-Muslim alike,” he said.

“We would like to reiterate our thanks to the police, the council and the local neighbours for their tremendous support.

“The damage was dealt with very quickly in order for normality to be achieved and we have left the rest to the authorities and the justice system to deal with.”

Cheltenham South Policing Inspector Tim Waterhouse said he hoped the sentence sent a clear message that this sort of “appalling criminal behaviour” will not be tolerated.

“Although this disturbing incident happened nearly two years ago a painstaking and difficult enquiry has led to today’s sentencing,” he said.

“The message is clear that we will not stop in our determination to target criminals and keep people and our communities safe from harm.”