Liam King received suspended prison sentences for burglary and criminal damage on December 1 2014.

King (and unidentified others) targeted Chelmsford Mosque on November 24 and December 16 – the latter resulted in the actual break-in. The cost to the mosque in damages was £125 and the copy of the stolen Qur’an totals £25. It might seem like trivial amounts but it adds to the senselessness of the crime.

A point the judge agreed on but the defence argued King was drunk on both occasions. We sympathise with the stress he suffered as a returning veteran and dealing with a family tragedy. Yet alcohol must not become an excuse for targeting a place of worship.

Hopefully Mr King will get the help he needs and uses the time to follow the example of Sohail Termezi, who helped found Chelmsford Mosque. Mr Termezi penned a two-page letter to the courts in support of Mr King, in a show of tolerance and forgiveness, two key messages the Islamic faith teaches.

We also welcome talk of him offering to apologise to worshippers directly. Only through dialogue can communities work together to hopefully avoid such unpleasant incidents in the future. But for the men still wanted in connection for the break-in we call on the public to assist Essex Police by dialling 101.