Man arrested, released over East End anti-gay stickers

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An 18-year-old man was arrested and subsequently released last month in connection with anti-gay stickers posted around London’s East End.

The teenager was arrested on February 18th and taken to Limehouse Police Station. He was later released without charge.

Police first received reports of the stickers last month and around 70 have been spotted in east London.

They say: “Arise and warn. Gay free zone. Verily Allah is severe in punishment.” understands that the man was Asian. He is understood to have been carrying the stickers at the time of his arrest.

However, sources say police are taking advice as to whether this is a criminal offence under the Public Order Act.

It is not clear whether the wording of the stickers – ‘gay-free zone’ – incites hatred based on sexual orientation under the law.

As the stickers have been placed on the walls of tube stations, the investigation is now being carried out jointly with British Transport Police (BTP).

Officers are examining CCTV footage in areas where the stickers have been reported and say enquiries are continuing.

Detective Sergeant Grieg Lloyd from the Community Safety Unit at Tower Hamlets said: “We are taking this matter seriously and while we have seen a recent drop in the number of stickers being put up, enquiries are still underway to find out who’s responsible and this is now a joint investigation with our colleagues at BTP.

“We urge the public to let us know if they see any further stickers on display as this may assist us in identifying patterns and tracing who is posting them.

“If anyone has information about these stickers they can call the police on 0300 123 1212, or in an emergency always call 999.”

Police say that despite rumours, there is no evidence that the English Defence League is involved.

Last month, the Muslim Council of Britain and the East London Mosque condemned the homophobic stickers.

Dilwar Khan, director of the mosque and the London Muslim Centre, said: “We stand together with our fellow citizens against all forms of hatred, including homophobia.

“We are committed to building strong and cohesive communities in Tower Hamlets, and our strength is that we will not let incidents of hate divide us.”