Shields man arrested over Facebook ‘threat’ to bomb town’s Muslims

KENNY HOLDEN ... arrested on suspicion of assault and possessing racially inflammatory material.
KENNY HOLDEN ... arrested on suspicion of assault and possessing racially inflammatory material.

A SOUTH Tyneside man has been arrested over allegations he threatened to launch a bomb attack on one of the borough’s Muslim communities.

A police probe was launched after race-hate posts were allegedly made on social network site Facebook threatening an “Oslo-style” attack on Ocean Road, South Shields.

Officers arrested Kenny Holden, 29, on suspicion of assault and possessing racially inflammatory material.

A website monitoring the activities of the English defence League (EDL) said detectives found comments he posted on his Facebook page that said he would bomb Ocean Road and surrounding areas - which has long-been the centre of the town’s Bangladeshi community - and would use a gun to kill any Muslims “Oslo-style”.

They refer to Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik who is currently on trial over the deaths of 77 people in Norway, eight in an Oslo bombing and 69 shot dead on Utoya Island.

South Tyneside Chief Inspector Michael Barton confirmed Northumbria Police had launched an investigation and said it would not tolerate “racial incitement” on the internet.

He said: “Extensive inquiries are being carried out. There is no place for any sort of racial incitement or use of social networking to place inappropriate comments and we take incidents such as this extremely seriously.

“I’d like to reassure the public that a full investigation is taking place into this allegation.”

Holden, from Winskell Road, Simonside, was arrested on Saturday and has since been bailed while police investigate further.

A police spokesman said the arrest for assault relates to a domestic incident and is unrelated to the alleged racial offence.

The spokesman added: “Extensive inquiries have been carried out and there is no apparent threat to the general public.”

Meanwhile, the EDL South Shields Division have used their Facebook page to distance themselves from Holden after one website posted pictures of a man they identified as Holden, including one posing with EDL leader Tommy Robinson and another in front of a St George’s flag saying EDL South Shields Division.

A post on their Facebook page read: “I would like to state that Kenny Holden is not nor will never be welcome in the South Shields Division of the EDL.

“We do not and will never promote violence, we are a peaceful division and always will be. If you don’t like the fact that we are a peaceful division then don’t join because you won’t be welcome.”

His arrest comes days after an anti-terror operation was carried out in the North East over the posting of alleged racist postings online.

Officers from the region’s Counter Terrorism Unit carried out synchronised raids at 7.45am on Thursday at houses in North Tyneside and County Durham.

They took 43-year-old Darren Yateley, of Backworth, North Tyneside, and 46-year-old Paul Duffy, from Elgin Avenue, Seaham, County Durham, to local police stations for questioning.

They were released on police bail pending further inquires.

Police wouldn’t say what had been posted online but said it related to posts on social network sites that could provoke racial hatred.

Twitter: @ShieldsGazCrime