A man described as a “devout Christian” has been arrested after a series of incidents of homophobia at a public library in Greater Manchester.

58-year-old Joe Fairclough was arrested and detained by officers under a public order offence, but later released without charge.

A police spokesman told the Manchester Evening News:

“The library customer’s behaviour was unacceptable and was the culmination of a number of incidents involving this man at the library over the course of a year.”

Previously Mr Fairclough had left anti-gay messages on the Leigh library noticeboard and staged a protest against gay adoption outside the building.

In his latest show of homophobia, he insulted a gay member of staff and then returned the next day, only to be asked to leave.

Mr Fairclough told the MEN that the gay library staff member had offered to assist him.

“I asked him if anyone else could help me, and he asked why. I pointed towards a ring on his finger and said I didn’t approve of two men being married. He then told me I was barred.

“I went back the next day and two members of staff told me to leave because I had insulted their colleague. I refused. A caretaker came over and eventually the police came.

“A police constable took me into a square outside the library and I gave him my side of the story, but he did not take notes.”

Mr Fairclough then went to the police station to complain about his treatment, where he was arrested over complaints about his behaviour. He was released after several hours without charge and has been banned from the library.

A spokesman for Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust, who run the library, said: “We take a serious view of verbal abuse, intimidation or violence against any of our staff.

“This wasn’t an isolated case and our code of conduct has a variety of sanctions, including banning people from our facilities.”

A Facebook group has been set up to support Mr Fairclough. It currently has five members.

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