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23 June 2010, 11:50
Police are doing more patrols in the Leadenhall area of Milton Keynes following an arson at the Sikh Temple in Phoenix Drive.
Two offenders set fire to the base of the flag pole at about 12.20am on Monday morning. The fire went out quickly and the two people ran off in the direction of Oldbrook.
The Sikh flag - which was flying at the time - wasn't damaged, but the orange fabric wrapped around the pole, which is common in the Sikh religion, has been burnt and some of it will need replacing.
A cyclist was seen going past the temple just as the offenders ran off, and police are keen to talk to that person.
Acting Chief Inspector Amanda Blake, responsible for local policing, said: “We are currently looking at CCTV footage of the area and I would urge anyone with information about this incident to contact the police.
"The Sikh flag holds great significance in the Sikh religion and naturally the members of the temple and the local community are very upset by what has happened. There is no evidence or indication that this incident was driven by racial or religious motivation.
“Any incident which has an impact on our communities is a concern for police and our partners. Our Community and Diversity Officers and members of the Independent Advisory Group are liaising with the temple and the Sikh community to offer reassurance and listen to any concerns or issues they may have.
"We will be increasing patrols in the area to offer reassurance and send out a message that this behaviour will not be tolerated in Milton Keynes.”
Group Manager Ian Taylor from Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service said: "Officers from Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service went to the scene yesterday [Monday] afternoon to support the work our colleagues at Thames Valley Police have done to reassure the Sikh community.
"An officer and the fire investigation dog handler and dog have carried out a fire investigation and we are jointly doing everything we can to investigate the incident."
If you have any information about this incident, you can contact PC Amanda Hall on 0845 8 505 505 or call the Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.