A man wore a t-shirt with "offensive wording" linked to the Israel-Hamas war while walking through a Jewish part of the borough- just two days after the start of the latest conflict.

Robert Hughes, 69, was seen by numerous members of the Jewish community walking along King's Road in Prestwich on the morning of Monday, October 9.

Hughes, of Top O' Th' Fields, Whitefield, was seen entering shops and speaking to people while wearing the offensive bright blue t-shirt at around 11.30am. 

Several witnesses contacted the police to report the incident. A Greater Manchester Police PCSO and a Community Security Trust (CST) officer approached Hughes in the street and persuaded him to cover the t-shirt with a coat. 

In 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. 

The incident happened only two days after Hamas' attack onto bordering areas in Israel on October 7, in which around 1,200 people were killed. 

The attacks sparked a war between Hamas and the Israeli government, which has so far led to more than 11,500 Palestinians being killed, according to Palestinian health authorities.

Today, Monday, November 20, Hughes pleaded guilty at Bolton Magistrates' Court to three racially/religiously aggravated public order offences. 

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.” 

Hughes was sentenced to 12 weeks imprisonment for the offences, which the court uplifted from eight weeks for racial aggravation. 

Prestwich is part of the UK's second largest Jewish community outside London