A man has been arrested in relation to alleged homophobic leaflets distributed just days before Saturday’s Chester Pride event.

Police launched an investigation after leaflets describing homosexuality as “Satanic” were hand-delivered to addresses in several areas of the city just ahead of this weekend’s gay pride.

Officers received a number of complaints about the religious flyers, entitled ‘Homosexualism – A Summary’, that were posted through letter boxes in the city centre, Garden Quarter and Hoole.

Cheshire Police spokesman Dan Millington said today: “A 53-year-old man from Northamptonshire was arrested in the early hours of this morning (October 2, 2014) on suspicion of malicious communications. This follows an investigation into the distribution of leaflets in Chester which were perceived to be offensive.

“Colleagues from Northamptonshire Police are working alongside officers from Cheshire following the arrest, and the man remains in police custody helping with their enquiries.”

There are suspicions the leaflet-drop was timed to coincide with the Chester Pride parade which celebrates equality and diversity and supports the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. A similar leaflet was distributed in Lincoln and Preston ahead of their respective Pride events.

The Chester version reads: “Homosexuality is not natural, it never has been and it never will be. God created man and woman for their mutual compatibility and for the procreation of children.”

It adds: “All sexual activity outside of the matrimonial union of one man and one woman is sin and therefore immoral.”

David Redpath-Smith and Helen Pickin-Jones, chair and vice chair of Chester Pride, said in a statement: “We want to thank all the people who are supporting our event and encourage as many people as possible to attend Chester Pride to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with us against anyone who promotes or preaches hate in any way.”

The Chronicle has received tweets supporting the #ShoulderToShoulder campaign

 

Sergeant Andy Burrage, of Chester Inner Neighbourhood Policing team, told The Chronicle there would be a reassuring police presence on Saturday, as usual, in case “anyone has any concerns”.

Cheshire Constabulary says it takes hate crime seriously and will investigate all complaints. Victims of hate crime, or anyone concerned that someone they know is a victim, can contact police on 101.