Former Tory minister, Ann Widdecombe, says a man who threw a church cross into a duck pond got away scot free – because he’s an atheist.
She said: “If a teenager tore down a cross which villagers had erected, in keeping with their tradition, on the green throughout Lent and then threw it into the village duck pond the chances are high he would be prosecuted for vandalism.
“But 82-year-old Alan Pickard gets away with it because he is an atheist.
“With no respect for any views but his own Pickard then sends an offensive email to residents explaining that he had originally intended to desecrate the cross by dressing it up as Worzel Gummidge.
“He then claims that if villagers put the cross back in the same position he will do it again. Vandalism? Religious hatred?
“Well it was the Christian religion he insulted so nobody is supposed to care.
“Had it been Islam the boys in blue would have been round before you could say Abu Hamza.”
Last week, 82-year-old Alan Pickard ripped down a 5ft wooden cross from the village green in the North Yorkshire village of Brearton and threw it in a duck pond.
The cross is now standing in the churchyard of St John the Baptist Church.
But an unofficial vote of residents showed that only six people objected to it, while 21 said they did not.