A man damaged cars and a garden wall after seeing Palestinian flags displayed in the property occupants' windows.

Elliot Kersh, 64, scratched a car parked outside a house in Prestwich on numerous occasions between October and December last year.

On October, 26, a BMW was found scratched from the front, along the side and to the rear.

The following day the vehicles owners' discovered further scratches on the back and bumper of the car.

Over the following weeks further damage was caused to the car.

By December 6, every panel, except the bonnet, had deep scratches on it.

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Meanwhile on a nearby road, Kersh spray painted a garden wall and spray painted and scratched the bonnet of a VW Golf overnight between December, 6 and 7.

Both homeowners had Palestinian flags in their windows.

Kersh, from Prestwich, had carried out the damage while on late night walks with his dog.

Some of the offences were captured on CCTV.

In a police interview, Kersh made a full admission to damaging the two cars as well as the garden wall.

However, he claimed he was not racist and had only committed the offences because he found the Palestinian flags to be both offensive and intimidating.

At his first appearance in Manchester Magistrates’ Court in December, he pleaded guilty to three charges of racially aggravated criminal damage.

Today, Tuesday, March, 12, he was sentenced to a 12-month community order with 15 rehabilitation days and the court imposed a 12-month restraining order.

To reflect the hate crime aspect of the offences, the court also ordered him to carry out 60 hours of unpaid work.

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Senior crown prosecutor for CPS North West, Joseph Seale, said: “Elliot Kersh has caused considerable upset and fear by deliberately targeting property belonging to homeowners who had Palestinian flags displayed in their windows.

“The CPS take incidents of hate crime very seriously and we are dedicated to bringing perpetrators to justice, which is why we asked the court to apply an uplift to Kersh’s sentence to reflect the racial aggravation of the offences he committed.

“Everyone has the right to exercise peaceful freedom of expression without fearing they will be targeted.”