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Racist who set fire to buildings sentenced to six years in jail

Austin Ross was sentenced to six years at Newport Crown Court. Credit: Gwent Police / CPS

A man who set fire to two buildings and caused damage to several others in Newport with racist graffiti has been sentenced to six years in jail at Newport Crown Court.

Austin Ross, 23, attended places such as The Riverfront Theatre and Newport Leisure Centre, sticking posters with racist propaganda to the buildings and spray painting swastikas.

Austin Ross put racist propaganda on the Riverfront Theatre. Credit: Made available by the CPS
Ross also damaged schools and a church using racist posters and slogans. Credit: Made available by the CPS

Ross also damaged schools and a church, as well as other buildings and landmarks, using racist posters and slogans.

The Masonic Lodge and Bassaleg Secondary School were not only damaged with graffiti but also set alight by Ross, causing tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage.

Credit: Made available by the CPS

Ross spread his racist messages around Newport by causing damage and destruction to buildings.

Hate crime has no place in a civilised society and has a devastating impact on not only individuals, but on communities.

The CPS will continue to work with our partners in the criminal justice system to address all forms of hate crime.

– Cerys Beresford-Evans of the CPS
Credit: Made available by the CPS

The offences committed by Ross in Newport in May of this year were very serious, and understandably resulted in concern and distress throughout our community.

There is no place for hate crime in Gwent, and we will continue to take a zero tolerance approach to this type of offending.

We are committed to ensuring our neighbourhoods are welcoming and safe places for everyone, and any crime motivated by racial, sexual, or any other prejudice, will be investigated thoroughly and any offender dealt with robustly.

We would encourage anyone who has experienced or witnessed an incident or crime that they perceive to be motivated by hostility or prejudice, to report to us directly on 101.

– Detective Chief Inspector Nicholas Wilkie, of Gwent Police