A CHRISTIAN preacher was arrested by police on suspicion of making homophobic remarks while giving a sermon in Basildon town centre.

Evangelist Rob Hughes was arrested on suspicion of committing a public order offence, but was later released without charge.

His preaching has sparked controversy among shoppers and onlookers in the town over the past few weeks, with police being called on numerous occasions to deal with shoppers also abusing him.


But last Thursday, officers arrested 37-year-old Mr Hughes, of South West London, after one woman made a complaint that he had made homophobic remarks during one of his sermons.

Following his arrest, town centre officials and police say they are now “monitoring” the situation.

Mr Hughes was heard telling Basildon Council’s town centre wardens that he was allowed to preach on the street under old bylaws.

However, Hans Wustefield, of the Basildon Town Centre Management, said he believed any religious groups should apply for a permit, either with them or Basildon Council.


He said: “Anyone whowants to do something in the town centre –whether it is preaching or holding an event – must apply for a permit with either us or the council.”

A spokesman for Basildon Council added: “We work with a number of religious groups and church organisations who prebook pitches to hold events in the town.

“In this instance, that was not the case and no pitch had been booked.

“We are continuing to look into the matter.”

Insp Mark Rayner, of Basildon police, said officers would also be monitoring whether Mr Hughes returns to the town.