A drunken yob who threatened to burn down a mosque has escaped jail ‘by a whisker’.
John Walsh, 25, shouted abuse at a member of the mosque on Liverpool Road in Eccles before kicking at the door.
Walsh – a plant vehicle operator from Boardman Street, Eccles – then turned on a nearby shop manager.
He was given a community penalty and warned he would face prison if he committed a similar offence in the next two years.
Walsh admitted two counts of racially aggravated public disorder when he appeared at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court.
The court heard how a member of the mosque had been locking up after prayers when he heard Walsh shouting from across the street.
Patrick Buckley, prosecuting, said Walsh had shouted words to the effect that he was going to ‘burn down’ the mosque.
Walsh then kicked and pushed at the locked door before going into a nearby shop and racially abusing the manager.
He returned to the shop later and began shouting football songs, but a police officer was inside and he was arrested.
He said later he was ‘really sorry’.
John McDiarmid, defending, said Walsh was from a respectable family, but drank heavily at weekends while watching football with friends.
He said he had no recollection of the offences, but had shown remorse.
Mr McDiarmid said: “This young man has a genuine willingness to change.”
Judge Bernard Lever, sentencing, gave Walsh a two-year community order with six months’ supervision.
He ordered him to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and placed him under a curfew.
Judge Lever said prison would not help Walsh’s problems and added: “I’ve only been persuaded by a whisker to take this other course.
“You have had a very narrow escape.
“Be warned. Go home to your respectable family. Don’t drink too much and respect other people as they would respect you.
“I don’t want to see you again but, if I do, it will be for an inevitable custodial sentence.”