Police 'hate crime' probe after faith display blaze

Police are investigating a '˜hate crime' after an illumination display designed to spread a message of peace and love was torched.

Tuesday, 30th May 2017, 5:22 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:29 pm
Crowds at the Easter switch-on event

The £25,000 light show was installed on the Promenade at Easter.But it has already had to be removed for repairs after a section of the tableu was set alight.Lancashire Police today confirmed the fire, which happened last week, is being treated as a hate crime.A spokesman said: “We were called to the Promenade at aruound 4.50am on May 25 following reports of a fire.“We were alerted to the incident by Lancashire Fire and Rescue service.“Their crews had attended and put out the fire which badly damaged part of the faith display.“Because of the nature of this particular installation it has been flagged as a hate crime.“Investigations are ongoing and there are currently no arrests.”Blackpool Council confirmed today it was aware of the fire and workers from the Illuminations department were busy trying to repair the damage.A spokesman said: “The fire happened last week.“It has not consumed the entire display but has caused damage to some of the lettering.“The team have removed the display from the Promenade while repairs are carried out.“It is currently at the Illuminations depot.”The tableau, which includes an image of Jesus and the words ‘I am the resurrection and the life’ was funded by Bispham Churches Together - a group which includes Bispham All Hallows, St Bernadettes, St Stephen’s on the Cliffs, Bispham United Reformed Church and Springfield Methodist Church.Nobody from the group was available to comment.

Blackpool mayor Coun Ian Coleman, whose predecessor Coun Kath Rowson helped switch-on the display said such acts have no place in the resort.

He said: "I am really shocked to hear the wonderful tableau has been damaged by fire.

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"Anybody who would deliberately deface, burn or damage in any way this message, I have no time for them.

"Society would be angered by them.

"We do not want people from inside or outside the town carrying out acts such as this.