Police deny EDL rumours of ‘Redditch paedophile gangs’ ahead of Saturday march
POLICE have quashed rumours circulated by the far-right English Defence League (EDL) that paedophile grooming gangs are operating in Redditch.
Speaking ahead of a planned demonstration by the group in the town on Saturday, Superintendant Adrian Pass said there was no evidence to back up the claims.
Saturday’s demonstration will be the first by the group in Redditch and is expected to attract around 150 demonstrators.
However Supt Pass said there would be a robust police presence in the town to deal with any disorder and allow members of the community to go about their business.
“If the EDL, or anyone else for that matter, has hard evidence of any other illegal activities of this nature in the area then they should come forward and tell us.
“They have not done so and we have no information whatsoever to suggest that there is a wider problem in Redditch or anywhere else in North Worcestershire.”
It is believed the rumours began circulating following the conviction for harassment of an Asian man against a white woman last year.
Supt Pass said West Mercia Police would facilitate Saturday’s demo, beginning at the town railway station before heading to Church Green West for a static protest.
However he said any criminal activity would be clamped down on hard by officers.
“Everybody has a right to peaceful protest, however what we will not tolerate is is people breaking the law. We will deal with that robustly.”
He said members of the community had expressed dismay the EDL, whose previous demonstrations in Birmingham and Dudley have been marred by violence, had chosen Redditch to demonstrate.
“The community would rather this event didn’t take place,” he added.
From the Birmingham Mail . 23.05.12. Report by By Matt Lloyd