WORSHIPPERS were left shocked after a man set off a CS gas capsule in a Worcester mosque.
Four people were inside the Central Mosque in Tallow Hill when the man set off the capsule at 11.15pm on Sunday.
They all suffered from the effects of the substance, although none required hospital treatment and made full recovery in a short space of time.
First on the scene was Hereford & Worcester Fire & Rescue Service, which responded to reports of a gas leak.
Worcester police launched an immediate enquiry and five men were arrested that night. They were interviewed by Worcester CID, led by Detective Sergeant Ray Williams, the next day.
The Military routinely use tablets of CS to test respirators.
Det Sgt Williams said: "Incidents such as this are extremely rare. When they do occur, we are committed to bringing the people responsible to justice. A team of officers worked extremely hard
around the clock to achieve this swift and reassuring result for the local community."
Malik Fayaz, president of the Central Mosque, said: "This sort of incident is of great concern to the community. We fully support the actions of the police and are grateful for the support
received from both south Worcestershire police and the local fire brigade.
"As Muslims we wish to forgive those responsible. We leave the question of punishment to the due process of law. We pray that God Almighty will lead them to act righteously in future."
Chief Inspector Iain Bailey, in charge of local policing for south Worcestershire, said they viewed incidents like these very seriously.
"The response from Mr Fayaz and his fellow elders at the Mosque has been exemplary in its moderation. We trust that the swift and effective policing response will go a long way towards allaying
the very real concerns within the community. We greatly appreciate the high levels of support we have received."
There was no damage to the building and the incident is not believed to be racially aggravated.
South Worcestershire police are seeking witnesses. They can be contacted on 08457 444888, quoting Incident 683-S-130507 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
* A man was due to appear before magistrates in Worcester yesterday charged in relation to the incident.