Man jailed after firebomb attack on Edinburgh mosque

The attack happened at the Central Mosque in Edinburgh. Picture Steven Scott Taylor

The attack happened at the Central Mosque in Edinburgh. Picture Steven Scott Taylor

A man has been jailed following a racist attack on a mosque in Edinburgh.

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Edinburgh Central Mosque at Potterrow. Picture; Steven Scott Taylor

Edinburgh Central Mosque at Potterrow. Picture; Steven Scott Taylor

Thomas Conington – who sports a swastika tattoo on his chest - struck last September in a firebomb attack.

The 28 year-old sparked the blaze at the Central Mosque in Edinburgh a year after he had attempted to start a fire at the same premise.

The building in the capital’s Potterrow luckily suffered little damage

Conington was caught on CCTV, but when later detained, he held up his middle finger towards officers and denied he was responsible.

However, Conington today admitted his guilt at the High Court in Glasgow.

He admitted to wilful fireraising, behaving in a threatening manner and a charge under the Explosives Act – all aggravated by religious prejudice.

He was remanded in custody pending sentencing next month.

Prosecutor Jim Keegan today described Conington as a “racist and bigoted individual”.

As well as the swastika, the QC said the thug also had a tattoo on his neck “with lettering in the style of the Nazi SS”.

The court also heard he was guilty of attempting to start another a fire at the mosque in July 2015.

Thomas Conington attempted to firebomb the mosque on September 18 despite being on bail.

He threw a “molotov cocktail” which he had lit over the gates.

Mr Keegan: “The item smashed and witnesses saw flames travel along the side wall of the mosque and set fire to a bush.”

As Conington raced off, police and the fire brigade were alerted.

The court heard the building fortunately only suffered “scorching” at the door and smoke damage to a wall.

Conington was traced days later in Dalkeith, Midlothian.

His “distinctive” watch matched that spotted on the CCTV.

But, Conington told police: “It was not me.”

It emerged the attack at the mosque occurred after Conington had been involved in another racist incident at a supermarket.

He hurled abuse at security guard Yakub Moro at the Tesco store in the capital’s Duke Street last March 3.

Conington also today admitted acting in a racially aggravated manner in connection with the incident.

His lawyer said Conington “accepted” he was a bigot.

Matthew Auchincloss, defending, added: “His racism is not based on ideology, political thinking or being part of a movement.

“His racism is a very personal matter. It appears to be rooted in his own personal experiences.

“This is the conduct – as he sees it – of male Asian muslims who have had contact with his family.

“That may be irrational – to some extent he recognises that – but he does accept he is a racist towards that particular group.”

Lord Burns adjourned sentencing for reports until next month.