A PUB landlord smeared dog faeces on the door of a mosque in Barnstaple after developing a grudge against one of the people who worshipped there.

Marcus Offield attacked the Islamic Cultural Centre four times in the space of nine days last October and put dog faeces on the door handle and through the letter box.

He developed a grudge against the centre after someone waiting nearby had allegedly kicked one of his two Golden Retriever dogs which he walked past the mosque regularly.

The attacks horrified the local Islamic community and the operations to clean up the dog mess led to worship being delayed on two occasions.

A representative of the centre wrote a victim statement which described the attacks as a hate crime which was particularly damaging because it took place during half term when a large number of children were attending worship.

Offield, aged 59, of Princess Street, Barnstaple, admitted racially aggravated harassment and was ordered to do 150 hours unpaid community work and pay £600 costs by Judge David Evans at Exeter Crown Court.

He told him: 'You reacted irrationally and rather obsessively to someone apparently kicking one of your dogs.

'It is a dreadful thing to take out a grudge against whole group and has led the whole Islamic community in Barnstaple to feelings of real insecurity and fear. That enhances the level of harm from this offence considerably.'

Mr Thomas Faulkner, prosecuting, said staff at the Islamic Centre found a bag of dog mess hung on the door when they went to open the mosque for prayers on October 19, some of which had spilled onto the handle.

The door was cleaned but prayers were delayed and an identical bag was put through the letter box later in the day, causing a second delay.

There were two more incidents in which Offield threw a pink bag containing dog mess into a courtyard and smeared it on the door handle. He was identified from CCTV and told the police he was upset because someone had kicked his dog near the mosque.

Mr Herc Ashworth, defending, said Offield has no animosity against the Islamic faith or community and over-reacted to an incident at a time when he was under family and business pressures.

He is very remorseful and accepted from the outset that what he had done was totally wrong.