Detectives investigate East Leeds community centre blaze as arson

The Bilal Masjid Mosque's community centre after the fire. Picture by Simon Hulme
The Bilal Masjid Mosque's community centre after the fire. Picture by Simon Hulme

THE FIRE which gutted a community centre in a Leeds suburb is being investigated as arson.

But police today said there was nothing to suggest the blaze at the Bilal Masjid Mosque’s community centre had been started as part of a targeted attacked.

The decision to treat the incident as arson follows work at the scene by fire service investigators and police scenes of crime officers as well as enquiries by detectives.

Acting Detective Inspector James Entwistle, of Leeds District CID, said: “A witness reported seeing two men sheltering in a doorway at the back of the centre before the fire started and nearby CCTV appears to confirm the presence of some males at the rear of the centre prior to the fire.

“We are treating the incident as arson and, although the investigation is still at an early stage, there is nothing to suggest this has been a targeted attack on the centre.”

The fire was reported to emergency services at 8.40pm on Friday 1 July. It caused extensive damage to the community centre in Conway Road.

The scene at the community centre following the fire. Picture by Simon Hulme

The scene at the community centre following the fire. Picture by Simon Hulme

Acting Det Insp Entwistle said: “We are continuing to carry out extensive enquiries into the incident and would like to hear from anyone who saw the men in the time leading up to the fire or who has any information that could assist the investigation.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Constable 4881 Alex Cullen at Elland Road via 101 quoting log number 1638 of July 1 or call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Extensive damage was caused to the community centre. Picture by Simon Hulme

Extensive damage was caused to the community centre. Picture by Simon Hulme

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