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Police launch hate crime investigation over threats to cafe

Staff at a cafe in Leeds have been threatened with violence because they made a point of welcoming refugees. A mural painted on the walls of the Junction cafe in Armley was supposed to be a positive statement encouraging everyone through the door. Instead extreme reaction to the statement prompted police to launch a hate crime investigation. Victoria Whittam reports.


Police increase patrols after threats to cafe over 'Refugees Welcome' mural

The original mural before it was vandalised

Police have stepped up patrols in Leeds after cafe workers say they were threatened because they welcomed refugees.

Owners of Armley Junktion painted the words 'refugees welcome, everybody welcome' on the wall. They say the words were a positive statement highlighting that they are open to all, but the mural was vandalised and staff were threatened with violence when they tried to repaint it.

Police say they are treating the matter seriously. The cafe says they will not be putting the slogan back up in a bid to calm tensions in the area.

The cafe had to stop repainting the mural because of the abuse

Cafe 'targeted for welcoming refugees'

Police have stepped up patrols in Leeds after cafe workers claimed they were threatened - because they welcomed refugees.

Owners of Armley Junktion painted the words 'refugees welcome' on the wall. They say it was vandalised - and that staff even received death threats.

We are currently investigating the criminal damage at the cafe and treating it as racially-aggravated. We are also investigating a linked offence of publishing material to stir up racial hatred, which is related to social media.

We always treat incidents of this nature very seriously and are doing everything we can to identify those responsible and bring them to justice.

We have visited the cafe to offer support and reassurance to the victims, and officers will be increasing patrols in the area. We will continue to monitor the situation closely while our investigations continue.

We would like to hear from anyone with any information that could assist our enquiries. We would also ask people to consider carefully any posts they make on social media in relation to these incidents.

– Insp Simon Jessup, West Yorkshire Police

Refugee aid convoy rolls out of Yorkshire

Preparing to leave

Calderdale has become the latest local authority in our region to say it will welcome refugees from Syria. The council says it will take in 50 adults and families with children. The authority is working in conjunction with St Augustine's in Halifax, a charity run centre which already provides support to refugees and has recently launched a new appeal for funds.

Meanwhile, tons more aid destined for refugees of the continent was driven out of Yorkshire tonight . The One Nation charity in Batley loaded up a huge 40 foot trailer with food, clothes and bedding. The truck will join up to 50 others near London tonight in a convoy heading for France. Donations have come from all over Yorkshire. Here's the Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox.

Aid convoy prepares to leave West Yorkshire

Volunteers are finalising a convoy of aid for Syrian refugees which leaves Batley for Calais tomorrow.

It is being co-ordinated by the charity One Nation, in partnership with Rabetah Al Ulema and the Aid 4 Refugees Convoy. Four vehicles and a 40ft trailer will initially travel to Calais where it's expected they will meet up with another 20 or 30 vehicles from other parts of the country.

Volunteers sought aid
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Vehicle laden with aid


York leaders to discuss migrant crisis aid

The leaders of York City Council will meet today to discuss how the city can offer assistance to Syrian refugees.

Credit: Press Association

Councillors will meet with charity workers and community leaders and are expected to decide how many Syrians York can house. This follows the Prime Minister's recent commitment to allow 20,000 refugees into the UK.

York has a long standing history of welcoming people into its city, including Kosovan Albanians who were rescued from refugee camps in Macedonia in1999, and we will do everything we can to continue to lead the way in offering support to Syrian families. The government is indicating that financial support will be forthcoming for supportive action taken and it's crucial that alongside this we continue our discussions with key partners to look at what we can do at a local level.

– Cllr Chris Steward, Leader of City of York Council

York joined the City of Sanctuary in 2012, one of 30 cities across the UK that offers vulnerable visitors a place of safety and helps integrate them into local communities.

Community funded WWII memorial to open in Rotherham

A new memorial, dedicated to those who fought during the second World War will be officially unveiled in Rotherham this morning.

The new memorial which will be officially opened today Credit: ITV News

The town's mayor, Maggi Clark, and the Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire, Andrew Coombe, will open the memorial in Clifton Park, which was paid for by local fundraisers.

Relatives of rail tragedy victims travel to India

Derailed train Credit: Credit: Twitter/@AdityaSinhmar

Relatives of the two people who died in the Indian train tragedy are travelling to the country where they will be helped by counsellors and staff from the tour company.

Loraine Toner, who was 60 and from Sheffield, died along with 71-year-old Joan Nichols from South Shields when the train they were on derailed. Two people, including the tour manager from York-based Great Rail Journeys remain in hospital, both in a stable condition.

The company says the majority of its passengers have now continued with their tour, with some now already in Shimla and others joining them there later today.

They are accompanied by a Senior Manager from Great Rail Journeys’ head office and a Tour Manager who will travel with the group to Delhi, where they will join our most senior Tour Manager for India who is currently travelling to meet them. The relatives of the deceased have arrived or are en route. We continue to be grateful for FCO assistance on the ground with myriad complex issues and with their kindness to all concerned. Our counsellor remains present in Chandigarh and a further counsellor will arrive in Delhi tomorrow morning. Our offer of counselling will remain open for as long as it proves necessary. We continue to monitor the situation closely from our York offices, and our absolute focus is to assist the families of those involved as much as possible.

– Peter Liney, Chief Executive Officer, Great Rail Journeys
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