A man has been jailed after deliberately wearing a t-shirt with offensive wording relating to the conflict in the Middle East while visiting a Jewish area.

Robert Hughes, 69, was seen by numerous members of the Jewish community walking along Kings Road in Prestwich, on October 9 at around 11.30am, entering shops and speaking to people whilst wearing the offensive bright blue t-shirt.

Several witnesses reported the incident, and a Greater Manchester Police PCSO and a Community Security Trust (CST) officer approached Hughes, of Whitefield, Bury, in the street and persuaded him to cover the t-shirt with a coat.

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In a police interview, Hughes admitted he had deliberately worn the t-shirt to provoke a reaction from the Jewish community but denied any intention to cause distress and claimed his actions were an expression of his freedom of speech.

Today, November 20, he pleaded guilty at Bolton Magistrates' Court to three racially/religiously aggravated public order offences and was sentenced to 12 weeks imprisonment, which the court uplifted from eight weeks for racial aggravation.

Matthew Siddall, a Senior Crown Prosecutor at CPS North West, said: “Robert Hughes targeted an area in north Manchester, where he does not live, which is a predominantly Jewish area in order to provoke a reaction with the t-shirt he was wearing.

“He caused upset and distress to all those he came across that day with the offensive words he displayed on his clothing.

“While individuals have a right to freedom of expression, we won’t hesitate to prosecute those who deliberately undermine public order by demonstrating hostility to anyone’s race or religion.”